Friday, May 24, 2013

Hall of Fame Signed Baseball - Joe Cronin

When I started my HOF signed baseball crusade back in 2010, I was hoping I could get most of my HOF subjects on single signed baseballs.  I realized pretty quickly that this would be an expensive task, so I became more open to the 'multi-signed baseball.'  My first Hall of Famer that I have been able to get on a multi-signed ball is Hall of Famer Joe Cronin.

A single signed baseball of Cronin runs anywhere from $400-$800, so I was happy that I found this ball from the late 20s-early 30s, multi signed by a number of Washington Senators, for $80 on Heritage Auctions.  Cronin's signature doesn't quite look like his later signatures, but the ball came with a JSA LOA saying all signatures on the ball were genuine, so I will take their word for it.  So, that being said, welcome the 87th Hall of Famer into my collection!

Joe Cronin (b. 1906 - d. 1984) played in the majors from 1926 to 1945 for the Pirates, Senators and Red Sox.  He had 2,285 hits, 170 home runs and a .301 batting average.  He appeared in the 1933 World Series, which the Senators lost to the New York Giants.  Cronin was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1956 (his 10th year on the ballot) when he received 78.8% of the vote from the BBWAA. 

Cronin was named manager of the Senators in 1933 (serving as a player/manager) and led his team to the World Series.  He was traded to the Red Sox in 1935 and served as player/manager until he retired from playing in 1947.  He continued to manage the Red Sox until 1947.  He led the Red Sox to the World Series in 1946, which they lost to the Cardinals.  After the 1947 season, Cronin became the Red Sox General Manager.

As General Manager of the Red Sox, Cronin was integral in the Red Sox refusal to trade for or sign an African American player, making them the last major league team to integrate (which occurred after Cronin's departure).

Cronin was elected AL President in 1959 and served in that capacity until 1973, when he was succeeded by Lee MacPhal.

I will do some subsequent posts on the rest of the signatures on the baseball.  It appears that most of the players are from the late 20s-early 30s Senators, but one player on the ball was on the Cardinals, however, that player had retired right up until the rest of the players I noted were active, so it might be safe to assume he could have been a coach.  I need to continue to look at the ball and try to figure it out.  More to come!
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