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baseballart
05-24-2012, 11:30 PM
I was listening to Fred Snodgrass in The Glory of Their Times. When he was talking about Bugsy Raymond, he said that after Bugsy was suspended for the Giants, he used to sign baseballs at the local bar, and never had to buy a drink accordingly.

Like a lot of oral history, there may be more fiction than fact in this. However, I thought I would ask the autograph people if Bugsy Raymond autographed balls have shown up in the collecting world more often than expected, perhaps giving some credence to Fred Snodgrass's story.

Max

prewarsports
05-25-2012, 12:24 AM
Single signed balls from that era basically dont exist. Even team signed balls of that era are almost non-existant. I bet that is a piece of folklore that sprang up well after Raymonds years on this earth were up. He might have traded Baseballs for drinks and made up some story of the balls significance, but I doubt he was autographing baseballs for people 100+ years ago.

I also remember a story once where a teammate of King Kellys remembered that during his playing days people would mob King Kelly for his autograph. If that is true, whay has there NEVER been a King Kelly autograph surface in an autograph book besides the one owned by a teammate that sold a decade ago? Because the story is not true thats why.

Rhys

JimStinson
05-25-2012, 03:13 PM
I have heard the exact same story but it was HONUS WAGNER not Raymond that used to trade signed baseballs for beers. As Pirates coach he would take a handful of practice balls when he left the park for the pub. Which would make sense because as rumor has it Wagner was a bit of a "pinch penny"

In 30 years I've only seen 1 purported Raymond autograph offered on ANYTHING. Considering the value scale of the time the baseball itself would have had more value than the autograph. In both cases

jerseygary
05-25-2012, 04:02 PM
No saying the stories are true or not, but if they are accurate think about all the bars and taverns that closed in 1920 with prohibition, tons of sports related material that was sitting behind bars must have been tossed in the trash when they shut down. Plus, after a generation, who would have recalled who Bugs Raymond was anymore? He wasn't Ty Cobb or Honus Wagner. Another thing too, if he did this as often as the stories said he did, how many were simply tossed to a neighborhood kid to use in a game? Back then I'd venture to guess that a baseball, a real good baseball, was worth more to a kid by putting it to use than sticking it in his sock drawer.

Hankphenom
05-25-2012, 06:30 PM
Another thing too, if he did this as often as the stories said he did, how many were simply tossed to a neighborhood kid to use in a game? Back then I'd venture to guess that a baseball, a real good baseball, was worth more to a kid by putting it to use than sticking it in his sock drawer.

Here's a story to back this up. I asked my Uncle Ed (Walter Johnson's son) once if he and his brother, Walter, Jr., ever got autographs from the players they came into contact with. I knew they both had Washington uniforms and used to shag flies during batting practice as teenagers when their father was managing the Senators, and he had some great stories about that. Here's what he told me:
"Oh, sure, we used to get balls signed by them all the time, I guess we had just about everybody at one time or another. But you know how it is, there'd be a neighborhood game and we needed a ball so we'd grab one of those and play with it. Eventually, we'd have run through all our balls and the last one left, of course, would be the one signed by Babe Ruth. But sooner or later that one would go, too. We always figured we could get more any time we wanted, but of course in the end they all went."

Scott Garner
05-25-2012, 08:59 PM
Here's a story to back this up. I asked my Uncle Ed (Walter Johnson's son) once if he and his brother, Walter, Jr., ever got autographs from the players they came into contact with. I knew they both had Washington uniforms and used to shag flies during batting practice as teenagers when their father was managing the Senators, and he had some great stories about that. Here's what he told me:
"Oh, sure, we used to get balls signed by them all the time, I guess we had just about everybody at one time or another. But you know how it is, there'd be a neighborhood game and we needed a ball so we'd grab one of those and play with it. Eventually, we'd have run through all our balls and the last one left, of course, would be the one signed by Babe Ruth. But sooner or later that one would go, too. We always figured we could get more any time we wanted, but of course in the end they all went."

Hank,

Too funny! Great post. :eek:

prewarsports
05-26-2012, 03:14 PM
I think the main thing to think about is the era, by the 1920's people were getting autographs and players were signing baseballs. I dont know why, but basically this did not happen pre 1920. I bet there are maybe 50 team signed balls in the entire hobby that pre-date WW1 and maybe a handful of single signed balls that were mostly trophy balls and from the players estates and not really autographed for the signature alone by a fan. Once you get into the 1920's you find them rarely and by the late 1920's there are tons of signed album pages and baseballs and things like that.

You can pretty much sum it up as Pre WW1 (c. 1920), be VERY skeptical even if authenticated on any single signed baseball. Many of the authenticated Ansons and Planks that have sold in major auctions with authentication are bogus, I wouldn't touch em with a 10 foot pole. Team baseballs are super rare too but you find them from time to time as keepsakes and almost always from players estates and not obtained by fans.

Rhys

Hankphenom
05-26-2012, 04:42 PM
Fred Snodgrass mentions this on "Glory." "We didn't have autograph hounds in those days," he says. "Oh, someone might want to come up and shake your hand or something, but that's all."