Spring Premier Auction 2019


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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 4/27/2019

The early Newark Bears are remembered as arguably the greatest minor league team in baseball history. Their reign began when millionaire beer baron Jacob Ruppert, owner of the New York Yankees, purchased the team from newspaper publisher Paul Block in 1931. The first five seasons under Ruppert saw the building of a farm system that eventually produced the great Yankee dynasty. The Bears' finest hour, however, came in 1937 with a lineup of Charlie Keller, Joe Gordon, Spud Chandler and George McQuinn that many believed could have competed successfully in the Majors. The New York Yankees’ Double-A farm team obliterated the International League, clearing the next best club by a record 25 1/2 games. In the Junior World Series, the Bears came back from a 3-games-to-0 deficit to defeat the Columbus Red Birds of the American Association and finish off their incredible season as champions.

Presented here is the 3" travel clock that was presented to no less than the Bears manager that season, Oscar Joseph Vitt. "Ossie", as he was long known, was a fine Major Leaguer in his days with the Detroit Tigers, a teammate of Ty Cobb and Sam Crawford on those stored clubs in the teens. After his playing career, Vitt became one of the most successful minor league skippers ever, guiding the Hollywood Stars to six straight 100-win seasons and multiple PCL crowns. He managed Newark for two season before a 3-year stint as Big League skipper of the Cleveland Indians.

The face is emblazoned with the Newark Bears team logo on the 6 hand and "NEWARK BEARS" in gold block around the perimeter, each letter standing for an hour hand. In black print at center is "JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPIONS - 1937." The reverse is inscribed "O.J. VITT." The clock, measuring 3 inches in diameter and weighing a robust 8 ounces, has the appearance of an oversized pocket watch. We have sold a few examples of these before. This one shows significant wear and handling, coming in VG/EX condition with heavy tarnishing on the back and some toning under the glass case on the face.

Includes letter of provenance from the grandson of Ossie Vitt. Also comes with two original Newark Bears team photos (a 7" x 9" press photo by ACME News and a 7.5" x 10" by Drew B. Peters Studios of Newark, NJ).

Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $750
Final prices include buyers premium.: $1,199
Number Bids: 4
Auction closed on Saturday, April 27, 2019.
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