Thursday, July 5, 2012

Detroit memorabilia: 1972 Tigers autographed baseball

I got this ball for a birthday present in April 1973 from my Aunt Stella and Uncle Stanley, who both worked at Tiger Stadium at the time.   Aunt Stella ran a concessions stand and Uncle Stanley (aka Spitz) was an Usher who sat in a chair on the field collecting foul balls.  The signatures are authentic, this isn't a mass produced concession stand trinket.

Most of the 1972 Detroit Tigers autographed the ball along with manager Billy Martin.   1972 was the first year I got the baseball bug and became a loyal Tigers fan.  I remember going to my first game at the magnificent Tiger Stadium and my first look out the upper deck tunnel on the way to our seats.  The occasional televised games became a family gathering around the TV and we listened to a lot of the games on WJR on the AM radio.  I occasionally stayed up late that Summer keeping score from the play by play call of Ernie Harwell and Paul Carey in my own score book and I pored over the box scores and player stats in the Free Press every morning.  When I unwrapped the present and saw it was a genuine autographed Tigers' baseball, I was ecstatic.  Best birthday present ever.  

The '72 Tigers team had a great season and outplayed the Orioles, Yankees, Red Sox for the AL East crown and a trip to the league championship series.   The Tigers went up against the Oakland Athletics for the American League Pennant and eventually lost the best of 5 series in 5 games, but the series was full of drama and great action.  After defeating the Tigers the A's went on to win their first of 3 consecutive World Series championships, this one against Sparky Anderson's Cincinnati Reds.    

These are the signatures on the ball.

Billy Martin (manager)
Al Kaline
Bill Freehan
Gates Brown
Mickey Lolich
Norm Cash
Jim Northrop
Aurelio Rodriguez
Mickey Stanley
Dick McAuliffe
Ed Brinkman
Joe Coleman
Joe Niekro
John Hiller
Wayne Comer
Ron Perranoski
Bill Slayback
Chris Zachary
Tony Taylor
Tom Timmerman
Chuck Seelbeck
Fred Scherman
Tom Haller
Paul Jata

There are two more indecipherable autographs on the ball.. hmm.  Woodie Fryman? Ike Brown?  What a great collection of autographs on one baseball.  I've never considered selling it.  I doubt it would be worth more money than it is memories.

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