June 2005 - Fredo > Internet Only > June 2005 Internet Auction
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Lot 146: 1918 Christy Mathewson and Umpire Cy Rigler Signed Baseball
Christy Mathewson was arguably the greatest pitcher in the history of the game. Matty, as he was affectionately known, finished his career with 373 wins and an amazing 2.13 ERA, earning himself a place in Cooperstown during the Hall of Fame's first election. While Mathewson's accomplishments on the mound are well known, and often discussed, many fans are unaware that the great hurler finished his Baseball career with the Cincinnati Reds, serving as their Manager from 1916 until 1918, when he left to join the service. Presented is an Official National League baseball (Tener) signed by Christy Mathewson during his tenure as Cincinnati's skipper. The scuffed and soiled sphere (quite possibly game used) features a second signature, that of Umpire and Hall of Fame candidate Charles "Cy" Rigler on the sweet spot, as well as the date "Aug-25-18" penned in vintage fountain pen ink. This date of August 25, 1918 is important, as research has shown that this day was Mathewson's last as Cincinnati's manager, with his official resignation from the team coming on August 27th. Moreover, it has also been documented that on this very day the Cincinnati Reds played the Boston Braves in a double header during which Cy Rigler served as umpire. The provenance of this remarkable piece is further substantiated by an accompanying letter from a long time Cincinnati resident and owner of the ball, who details its history. The Cy Rigler autograph on the this amazing relic is accomplished in blue fountain pen ink and reads, "Compliments Chas. Rigler umpire". The signature appears a bit rough in few spots due to surface scuffs on the vintage hide, but remains fully legible and rates 7-8/10 in strength. Mathewson's signature is situated on the panel below Rigler's mark and, although it remains dark and legible (also 7-8/10 in strength), appears to have been enhanced at some point in black fountain pen ink.While Christy Mathewson autographs are scarce in any form, they are exceedingly rare on baseballs, with this example being one of only a handful we have ever offered. In addition, the signature of Umpire Cy Rigler is quite a treasure in its own right, as Rigler was a popular umpire whose autograph seldom surfaces, as he passed away in 1935 at the age of 53.
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