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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 12/11/2022

Roberto Clemente collected exactly 3,000 hits before his life came to a sad, abrupt end on Dec. 31, 1972 at the tender age of 38. This upcoming New Year's Eve will mark the 50th anniversary of that tragic plane crash in his native Puerto Rico. The kindhearted soul had chartered a small freight plane to deliver much-needed supplies to Nicaraguan earthquake victims. Unfortunately, engine failure right after take-off sent the Douglas DC-7CF falling into the Atlantic a mile and a half offshore, killing all five people on board. The 15-time All-Star played all 18 seasons of his Hall of Fame career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, delivering World Series titles to the Steel City in 1960 and ‘71. He was, without question, the greatest rightfielder ever to play the position, winning 12 straight Gold Gloves from 1961-72.

Presented here is believed to be among the last known Clemente autographed baseballs in existence. Baptized Catholic but raised Baptist, the Latino legend was a devout Christian starting at a young age and remained deeply religious throughout his life. He eventually gravitated back towards the Catholic chuch and was a loyal supporter of his local parishes, whether it be in Pittsburgh during the MLB season or back home in Puero Rico. One of these parishes back home was St. Antonio in the Rio Piedras community of San Juan. Shortly before his untimely death, Clemente signed this offered baseball for the Franciscan Sisters who belonged to that parish. One of them asked if he could sign it to her nephew (John Busin).

The end result is this stunning single signed ball with one of the more immaculate Clemente autographs you will ever see. While the exact date of the signing is unknown, the included letter of provenance indicates that it was close to his final days. The personalization "To Johnny, Best Wishes" does not diminish, rather it accentuates the supreme quality of this historic piece. Who knows how many, if any, balls were blessed with Roberto's meticulous caligraphy after this one? The bold blue ballpoint appears a strong 8/10 in strength but we would add a point for overall eye appeal based on the cleanliness of the creamy-white ball. While the manufacturer stamp calls it an "Official Little League" baseball, the given "5 oz. 9 in." specs equate to a regulation-size major league ball. As the important half-century milestone since Clemente's death approaches, there are few mementos in the hobby that better illustrate the level of class, professionalism, and selflessness with which this man carried himself until his final breath.

Includes full LOA's from JSA and Beckett, plus the aforementioned letter of provenance.

This lot has a Reserve Price that has not been met.
Current Bidding (Reserve Not Met)
Minimum Bid: $3,000
Final prices include buyers premium.:
Number Bids:6
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