The purpose of the “Unable to Authenticate” column is to make collectors aware of items that MEARS has deemed to not be as it was represented. Recently we were asked to supply an opinion on a baseball purported to be a Babe Ruth HR baseball from the 1922 season. Our evaluation consisted of the examining of the baseball itself and an examination of the signature and writing by Jimmy Spence of JSA. Below you will find our findings of the baseball and the opinion provided by JSA:
RE: 1910-25 Reach Official American League baseball, game used with inscription.
Markings: Pat, Warranted the Cork Center, 9” 5 oz., Ban Johnson, 1910-25 era
Red/Blue stitching, showing game use
Side panel has writing: Babe Ruth 6/9/22
The baseball is a 1910-25 Reach Official American League, game used. This was the exact ball used by American League teams in the major league during the 1910-25 era. The ball was submitted for examination as to the possibility of being a Babe Ruth Homerun ball.
No provenance was provided and we began our research with the writing, which appeared on the ball. Jimmy Spence of JSA was asked to give his opinion on the autograph. His findings:
Submission Number: W14192
…It is our considered opinion that the submitted item is not, in fact, an authentic example. Several factors became apparent during our inclusive examination that prevented us from certifying the autographed item. The apparent results of these inconsistencies are as follows:
1. Atypical letter slant, angle, and/or pitch
2. Base Line misalign/Undulation
3. Irregular letter shape and/or formation
4. Irregular overlapping of strokes
5. Irregular spacing between letters
6. Lacks spontaneity, rhythm, conviction, and/or movement
7. Sizing of letters disproportionate/exaggerated/undersized
8. Spurious example lacking resemblance
With question arising from the signature, which served as the main form of provenance, MEARS is not able to attribute this baseball to a game, player, or event. Although the right type and period of baseball for major league use, MEARS could not attribute the ball to an actual major league game or as a homerun hit by Babe Ruth.
Troy R. Kinunen