Winter Premier Auction 2021

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

Open any book on baseball history and you’ll find this photograph, the famous one depicting the entire 1927 New York Yankees. Over time this particular team has taken on an almost mythical quality, a team so powerful its lineup earned the nickname “Murderer’s Row.” Just looking over the photo is like seeing Cooperstown unfold before your eye: there’s Babe Ruth, in the process of setting the single season home run record that would stand for decades, a young Lou Gehrig in the midst of his first AL MVP season; leadoff batter Earl Combs who more often than not was on base when Ruth or Gehrig hit one of their bombs; Tony Lazzeri who would have been the marquee superstar on any other team; and 22-game winner Waite Hoyt who was well on his way to becoming the best starter in Yankees history. Besides the Hall of Famers in that famous photo are Benny Bengough, Patsy Collins and Johnny Grabowski, three catchers who each gave the team different strengths on defense, offense and leadership. Bob Meusel roamed the outfield alongside Ruth and Combs, hitting a solid .337 while Jumping Joe Dugan and Mark Koenig anchored the left side of the infield. Also mixed in among the superstars are the secret weapon in manager Miller Huggins’ arsenal: a deep bench of replacement parts to spell his starters. Outfielders Ben Paschal and Cedric Durst would have been everyday starters on any other club, while Mike Gazella, Ray Morehart and Julie Wera filled in at all points of the infield. And while the offense was purely terrifying to opposing teams, the ’27 Yankees boasted a pitching rotation of Hall of Famer Waite Hoyt who combined with Urban Shocker, Dutch Ruether and Herb Pennock to win 72 games. Add to those four an ace relief staff of George Pipgras, Wilcy Moore and Myles Thomas and one can see why the Yankees finished 19 games ahead of the pack.
And of all those players in that famous photograph who each had a part on the greatest team of all-time, there is another face, more unfamiliar than any other, yet distinctive in his placement dead center in the back row between Hall of Famers Waite Hoyt and Earle Combs. For many years he was listed as “unknown” or mislabeled when the photograph was published, over time gaining the nickname “the mystery Yankee.” He never appeared in a game for the Yankees in 1927 or any other year for that matter, yet there he is, suited up in Yankees pinstripes and prominently posed in the most famous team photo of all-time. His name: Don Miller.
Don Miller had been a star left hander at Michigan where he attracted attention from major league scouts. At the conclusion of his senior year, Miller was signed by the Yankees and joined the team so manager Miller Huggins could see the new recruit close up. Miller traveled with the Yankees for the remainder of the summer, pitching batting practice and appearing in exhibition games as well as playing cards with Babe Ruth. Though he played minor league ball for three years, Miller never made it back to the majors – yet he is immortalized along with the giants of the game in that 1927 team photo.
While it would have been an honor to just be included in that photograph, Don Miller had the foresight to have each and every one of his teammates to sign his personal copy.
Don Miller’s copy of the iconic team photograph measures 8” x 10.” There is edge wear on all sides, with some chipping and small pieces missing, though none seriously affect the content or signatures. Each player has signed their likeness in black fountain pen which contrasts nicely against the white Yankee pinstripes. An incredible photograph of baseball’s most famous team, signed by every member with impeccable provenance back to Don Miller, one of the few men who could proudly say he was a 1927 New York Yankee. Encapsulated PSA/DNA TYPE 1 & PSA/DNA Authentic – Also Accompanied by a full LOA from Beckett Authentication Services and a notarized letter of provenance from the family of Don Miller.

Estimate: $500,000+

Bidding
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $50,000
Final prices include buyers premium.: $444,031
Number Bids: 22
Auction closed on Saturday, April 3, 2021.
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