Tom Connolly Signed American League Baseball Hall Of Fame Dec. 1961 JSA COA RARE
Official American League baseball (Harridge) signed by Hall of Fame umpire Thomas Connolly, who has inscribed the ball "Tommy Connolly/November 1959" in blue fountain pen on a side panel. The year noted by Connolly likely represents the time at which the ball was signed. The additional signature of fellow umpire Bill Summers appears across the sweet spot. Summers has added the year "1959" on the panel above his signature. Thomas Connolly signed balls are exceedingly rare. (We have seen only one example in the past twenty years.) The primary reason for their rarity is the fact that Connolly was an umpire. Umpires have not been the object of great affection by fans. Consequently, few fans had any desire to seek out umpires for autographs, especially alone on a baseball (baseballs cost real money and all by themselves represent an expensive outlay for collectors). However, in 1953 autograph collectors were forced to change their ways when, for the first time ever, the Baseball Hall of Fame elected two umpires to its rank of immortals: Bill Klem and Connolly. Because Klem was elected posthumously, his signature alone on a ball is even rarer than Connolly's, but the window of opportunity for obtaining Connolly's signature would be short. Connolly died in 1961 at the age of 91, leaving collectors with just seven years to acquire his signature. Today, he is one of only ten umpires enshrined in Cooperstown. Though this ball doesn't technically qualify as a Thomas Connolly single-signed ball, it certainly displays as one. Given the extreme rarity of Connolly single-signed balls, the offered ball would make a fine representative example for even the most advanced collections, most of which are missing this key Hall of Famer rarity. The ball remains in outstanding Excellent to Mint condition. Full LOA from James Spence/JSA.
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