Winter Premier Auction 2021

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

Many baseball fans who grew up in the 1950’s remember with affection an old television show called Home Run Derby. A syndicated program, it ran for 26 weeks during the 1960 baseball season, and then vanished. But during that brief time, the program had a profound impact. It seemed as if every schoolboy in America played their own version of “Home Run Derby” that summer. Imitating their heroes on TV, two boys would square-off in a nine-inning home run hitting contest. The rules were simple: one man to a team, three outs per inning, and anything but a homer was an out. Instead of an outfield fence, kids took aim at distant hedges and picket fences. Whenever a longball was struck, someone could be heard mimicking Mark Scott, the show’s creator and on-air announcer, “She’s back…she’s way back..she’s outta here.” Filmed in December, 1959 at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles the 26 episodes laid dormant in a vault, until being recently revived by ESPN to the delight of baby boomers nationwide. Today, the show is a time capsule of post war America at its zenith, when millions of young boys dreamed of major league stardom. An intimate glimpse of our heroes as they were forever preserved in black and white. The stars of Home Run Derby were the premier power hitters of the day, each appearing in their own baggy woolen uniform: Killebrew, Dick “Dr. Strangelove” Stuart, Aaron, Mantle, Mays, Frank Robinson, Triandos, Mathews, Post, Jensen, Kaline – 20 in all. Its undeniable star power notwithstanding, the shows enduring charm is due in large part to its understated simplicity. Uncluttered by unnecessary visual effects or over the top commercialism, the shows only participants included the two sluggers, host Mark Scott, an umpire, batting practice pitcher, and a few inconspicuous ball shaggers. There was no crowd, and the only sound apart from the crack of the bat was Scott’s often campy banter with the players. To the players, the allure was prize money. The winner each week won $2,000, the loser collected $1,000; anybody who blasted three in a row got an extra $500, four in a row was worth an additional $1,000 and each consecutive homer past that was good for $1,000 a pop. In a year when Willie Mays earned $80,000 and the average players salary was under $50,000, the potential supplementary income was quite attractive. The series debuted with a dreamlike matchup of Mays vs. Mantle.  Before the Mick overcame a 8-2 deficit by clouting seven unanswered homers to win, he and host Mark Scott shared a typical Derby-like exchange in the dugout. Mantle: “This is getting embarrassing.” Scott: “Well, I wouldn’t call it that. You just don’t happen to have your swing with you right now…They say a ballgame’s never over until the last man is out.” The host, who regularly served as the voice of the PCL’s Hollywood Stars, also offered this straightforward advice to Mays: “Well, keep on swinging. That’s the name of the game.” Mark Scott, the driving force behind Home Run Derby, died of a heart attack at age 45 on July 13, 1960. Though his brainchild lasted for only a single season (26 episodes were filmed), Scott secured his legacy. His enthusiasm lingers to this day, as he repeats his signature mantra early in each show, the only rule that matters in the Valley of the Dinger: “It’s a home run or nothing here on Home Run Derby.” The offered ball was Mark Scott’s personal keepsake from the show and can only be described as “THE Home Run Derby Ball.” In the course of filming each episode, Scott had each participant add his signature to this . Not a single member of the unique roster of larger than life sluggers was missed including; Hank Aaron, Bob Allison, Ernie Banks, Ken Boyer, Bob Cerv, Rocky Colavito, Gil Hodges, Jackie Jensen, Al Kaline, Harmon Killebrew, Jim Lemon, Mickey Mantle, Ed Mathews, Willie Mays, Wally Post, Frank Robinson, Duke Snider, Dick Stuart, and Gus Triandos. All the signatures are quite legible, though the ball does show a degree of wear appropriate with having been handled over the course of 26 episodes. In addition to the autographs, it has been marked with the period notation, “1960 Home Run Derby” on the sweet spot. It is safe to say that this baseball, like the show itself, is a one of a kind American classic. This heirloom is proudly being offered on behalf of the family of Mark Scott and includes their letter of provenance. Accompanied by a full LOA from PSA/DNA.

Estimate: $20,000+

Bidding
Current Bidding (Reserve Has Been Met)
Minimum Bid: $4,500
Final prices include buyers premium.: $12,737
Number Bids: 3
Auction closed on Saturday, April 3, 2021.
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