Winter Premier Auction 2021

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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 4/3/2021

In the spring of 1931 the New York Yankees were barnstorming their way north to New York City playing exhibition games along the way. On April 2nd, the team found itself at Engel Stadium playing the Chattanooga Lookouts of the Southern Association. Chattanooga pitcher Clyde Barfoot started the first inning by giving up a double to Earle Coombs who then scored on a hit by Lyn Larry. Lookout’s manager Bert Niehoff then called time and removed Barfoot, took the lineup card and penciled in “Mitchell, pitcher” and Jackie Mitchell, a 17 year-old girl, took the mound to face Babe Ruth.

Jackie Mitchell grew up in Memphis where her next-door neighbor, Hall of Fame pitcher Dazzy Vance, Vance, taught the young girl how to throw his famous “drop ball.” While pitching for an all-girl baseball team in Tennessee, Joe Engel, owner of the minor league Chattanooga Lookouts, signed Jackie to a minor league contract. Essentially a publicity stunt, Engel’s made sure the press was tipped off so that when the Yankees came to town, the newsreel cameras rolling when Jackie entered the game.

Mitchell threw a few warm up pitches and Ruth stepped into the box. The first ball was wide for ball one. The second pitch was in there and Ruth swung and missed. Strike one. Mitchell wound up and Ruth swung and missed again – strike two. The Babe called for the ball and asked the umpire to look it over for any funny business. The umpire deemed it fine. Mitchell wound up and fired another ball past Ruth to strike him out looking. The Babe slammed his bat down and exchanged words with the ump before sulking back to the dugout. The 4,000 hometown fans went nuts.

Amid the roar of the crowd Lou Gehrig strode up to the plate. Jackie, now in her stride, threw three straight sinkers, Gehrig swinging and missing them all. The crowd roared. Up next was Tony Lazzari who walked on four pitches. Manager Niehoff called time and against her strenuous protests, removed Mitchell from the game. The Yankees went on to win 14 to 4, and a few days after the game Baseball Commissioner Landis voided Mitchell’s contract and banned women from professional baseball. A disappointed Jackie went on to play with various semi-pro teams including the bearded House Of David team and barnstormed around the country. She retired from baseball in 1937 and married, but will be forever known as “the teenage girl who struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.” Today Jackie’s feat of striking out the two best players in the game lives on in countless books and documentaries, remaining as one of the greatest David and Goliath sports stories of all-time.
Jackie has proudly signed the Rawlings “Official League” ball in bold black ink, “Jackie Mitchell Gilbert April 2, 1931 Struck-Out Babe Ruth & Lou Gehrig.” The ball shows just light toning from age and the signature and inscription display wonderfully against the warm white ball. A real piece of baseball mythology.

Accompanied by full Letters of Authenticity from PSA/DNA and Beckett Authentication Services.

Bidding
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $750
Final prices include buyers premium.: $7,352
Number Bids: 13
Auction closed on Saturday, April 3, 2021.
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