SPORTS COLLECTIBLES: Jesse OWens ruled '36 Olympics
Dear Babe: I have a 5x7 Lincoln-Mercury card, showing Jesse Owens in a suit. It is signed: “All my best wishes, Jesse Owens.” It appears to be in mint or near-mint condition.
— Lisa Teiger, Forest Hills, N.Y.
Of course, Jesse Owens is the legendary track star who put on one of the greatest shows ever at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, much to the dismay of Adolf Hitler.
Hitler, a racist if there ever was one, was looking forward to dominating performances by Aryan athletes.
Owens single-handedly spoiled the Nazi leader’s plans.
It was a time when sprinters ran without starting blocks and in leather shoes.
In his book, “Jesse Owens,” author Tom Streissguth notes that in Owens’ day tracks were made of cinder — a mixture of small rocks, carbon ash and slag. They were sloppy and slow in rainy weather.
Owens won four Olympic gold medals. He tied the world record of 10.3 seconds in the 100-meter dash; set Olympic marks of 20.7 seconds in the 200-meter dash and 26 feet, 5ﾼ inches in the long jump.
To cap off his fantastic performance, he ran the opening leg in the finals of the 400-meter relay, helping the Americans set a world record of 39.8 seconds.
“This one is worth around $300 to $400,” said Mike Heffner, president of www.Lelands.com. “It was signed later in life as opposed to a vintage (1930s) signature, which would be worth a little more.”
Dear Babe: We saw this autographed bat at an antique shop. The owner of the shop did not know who signed the bat. It looks like the player was the No. 2. Does this signature look familiar to you?
— Ben L., Nashua, N.H.
The guys at PSA didn’t take much time in identifying the signature. They say the bat was signed by Carl Everett. He wore No. 2 for the Boston Red Sox in 2001 and 2002.
Everett played 14 years in the majors. He ended up with a respectable .271 average with 202 homers and 792 RBI in 1,405 games. A switch hitter, he helped the Chicago White Sox win a World Championship in 2005.
There was a signed Everett bat being offered on eBay for a Buy It Now price of just $14 plus $12 shipping and handling. That bat was a Louisville Slugger and not in the best shape. The fact that this bat is a black Big Stick with a nice silver signature makes it more valuable than the one offered on eBay. Da Babe checked with David Kohler, president of www.scpauctions.com, who agreed with the Da Babe that the bat’s value might top out at $50.
BABE NOTE: Readers may recall our discussion of Topps baseball card numbers. For the 2013 Series 1 set, star players were no longer on the round numbers. Topps had no comment on the change after decades of putting stars on the big numbers. Da Babe wondered if it had been a mistake. Apparently that’s the case. In Series 2, David Wright is No. 400, Stephen Strasburg is 500, and Mariano Rivera is 600.