From the newly discovered Dave Hill Collection comes this incredible autograph group of nine original Hall of Fame inductees, all of whom were there in Cooperstown on that June 12, 1939, day for the inaugural ceremony. Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Ty Cobb, Cy Young, Tris Speaker, Nap Lajoie, George Sisler, Eddie Collins and Connie Mack. The only two missing from this set are Only Walter Johnson and Grover Cleveland Alexander are missing from this set. Nine of the Original Eleven. All have been encapsulated by PSA/DNA, with five earning grades: Cy Young and Tris Speaker were given a perfect Gem Mint 10 rating; Babe Ruth and Eddie Collins received Mint 9 marks; and Nap Lajoie got a NM-MT 8. Young, Ruth, Speaker, Sisler and Lajoie are done on 3x5 index cards. The other four are cut signatures, a few with added newspaper clipping images for improved presentation. The full names of each player are typed at the top, with their lifespan in parenthesis and MLB debut season noted to the right.
Provenance: How does one acquire over 9,000 autographs, covering just about every Major Leaguer from 1900 to 2000? Very diligently with an unbelievable amount of patience and determination. For Dave Hill, the quest lasted practically his entire life. Born in St. Louis in 1929, Hill was a standout pitcher who played in college and then a few years professionally in the White Sox organization before landing a position with the Central Intelligence Agency where he had a long and decorated career. The management and organization skills Hill developed at the CIA certainly came in handy as he meticulously built his massive memorabilia collection.
Hill grew up a die-hard St. Louis Browns fan and always had a passion for collecting. It became as much a hobby as an obsession as he tracked down player after player by attending games or events where one was present, writing them letters with his request, or purchasing from other collectors (some autographs were dated before Hill was even born). The relentless man did not stop until well into his 60’s. Most signatures come on 3x5 index cards or cuts, and many are done on the player’s baseball card, photo, news clipping or mailed postcard/GPC. The list is mind-blowing, some signatures so rare that records of their mere existence are blank. As a hobbyist, Hill was also recognized for his extensive collection of St. Louis Brown photographs used to produce two official “Brownies” albums by team archivists.
The Dave Hill Collection is easily one of the largest autograph collections ever documented. Its size and scope is beyond anything we’ve had the pleasure of representing. Luckily, Hill was meticulous about keeping it organized in alphabetical order and, according to the family, his wife Jewell deserves much of the credit. Even the years of each player’s birth and MLB debut are noted. A total of 187 Hall of Famers are included (out of a possible 323) and the most significant autographs have been encapsulated by PSA/DNA, branded “Dave Hill Collection.” David W. Hill passed away in 1995 at the age of 66.