Summer Premier Auction 2019


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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 9/28/2019

Home Run Derby was a popular TV series that aired in syndication from January to July 1960. Filmed in December '59, it featured baseball's top power hitters of the era in one-on-one matchups at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles. Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, Harmon Killebrew, Eddie Mathews, Duke Snider and many more displayed their hitting prowess on the black and white screen, competing for a chunk of prize money that was very significant even to star players at that time. The winner received a check for $2,000 and was invited back for the next week's episode against a new opponent. The runner-up received $1,000. If a batter hit three home runs in a row, he'd get a $500 bonus.

The program is widely credited with being the inspiration behind the modern Home Run Derby held every July during All-Star weekend. Rules were similar to today's version as well, with two exceptions: 1) if a batter did not swing at a pitch in the strike zone, that constituted an out; 2) players were given a set number of outs for each session. Although the show was short-lived, ESPN brought it back to life in 1989 with reruns and it became a staple on the network's ESPN Classic channel.

The first episode pitted two of the game's biggest stars against each other: Mantle vs. Mays. Former MLB umpire Art Passarella called balls and strikes behind the dish. The "Commerce Comet" barely defeated "The Say Hey Kid" by the score of 9 to 8 in their only matchup. Mantle would finish with the most total home runs (44) over the 26-episode series, but Aaron won the most money ($13,500).

At some point during the filming of the first episode, the ball offered in this lot was hit out of play by either Mantle or Mays. Most likely it was a foul ball retrieved by a member of the Ziv Production team that put on the show. The ONL (Giles) ball was then signed -- that same day we presume -- by Mantle, Mays and Passarella in varying shades of blue ink, with The Mick's "Best Wishes" inscribed signature being the boldest (8/10). The well-soiled ball shows heavy use and some toned spots from aging. An incredibly rare Hollywood-worthy piece with the vintage autographs of two legendary ballplayers in their primes who kicked off the first ever Home Run Derby that baseball fans so love today.

Includes Ziv Productions paperwork from the consignor's father, who was there working the very first episode, to further solidify the ball's provenance. Also comes with a DVD (Volume One) of the first 8 episodes. Full LOA from PSA/DNA.

Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $400
Final prices include buyers premium.: $3,586
Number Bids: 14
Auction closed on Saturday, September 28, 2019.
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