Big Apple bias has long been the practice in media outlets. To this day, we’re inundated with rave reviews of “Murderers Row” and the pinstripers’ dominance. Obscured by those Bronx Bombers, Connie Mack’s Philadelphia A’s dynasty supplanted the Yankees by winning three successive pennants and an aggregate 313 games from 1929-1931. A key component on those Athletics rosters, Hall of Famer Al Simmons autographed this OAL Barnard baseball, likely in celebration of the 1929 World Series. The creamy orb (grade “6-7”) showcases vibrant trademark stampings and alternating red-and-blue laces. On a side panel, Simmons (d.1956) has signed in black-ink fountain pen (“4-5”) and inscribed “1929 World Champions” in elegant cursive. The ball’s original “Reach” box is included. Full photo LOA from JSA.
Like his contemporaries, Simmons was often lost in Babe Ruth’s sizable shadow. In 1929, the year in which he endorsed this ball, Simmons paced the circuit with 157 RBI and was close in the remaining Triple Crown categories with a .365 batting average (2nd to Lew Fonseca) and 34 home runs (3rd; behind Lou Gehrig and Ruth). His torrid hitting continued in the Fall Classic, as he homered twice and dro9ve in five en route to a .300 average. Of note was the pivotal Game 4. As the Cubs took an 8-0 lead onto the bottom of the seventh, it appeared as though the series would be deadlocked at two games apiece. But Cubs hurler Charlie Root endured a fate that, while not nearly as celebrated as surrendering Babe Ruth’s “called shot,” was at least as dreadful. Simmons led off the inning with a home run. Six batters and five hits later, Root was gone and the A’s were back in business. Simmons added a base hit and another run in that same inning, which ended after Philadelphia had tallied 10 times to take a commanding three games-to-one lead.
The original retail box is missing its top, though remains a rare survivor and welcome addition to this spectacular heirloom.