Two sets of adjoined pages, consisting of the front and back cover and scorecard from the program for the June 12, 1939 exhibition game that took place at the grand opening of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, 17 x 11 unfolded, signed in ink and pencil by 20 Hall of Fame players and a number of other non-Hall of Famers. Hall of Fame signers are: Babe Ruth (very bold pencil), Cy Young (ink), Walter Johnson (ink), Ty Cobb, Mel Ott, Larry Lajoie, Tris Speaker, Arky Vaughan, Dizzy Dean, Connie Mack, Gabby Hartnett, Eddie Collins, Hank Greenberg, Lefty Grove, Joe Medwick, Bill McKechnie, Bill Klem, Carl Hubbell, Billy Herman, Charlie Gehringer, and Bill Terry. Other signers include: Wally Moses, Billy Jurges, Terry Moore, and Jimmie Wilson. Each set of pages is permanently affixed to slightly larger mounts. In very good condition, with a light overall shade of toning, scattered creases, a central vertical fold, rubbing wear to the front cover, and staple holes along central fold. Accompanied by a full letter of authenticity from PSA/DNA.
Even though Hall of Fame balloting began in 1936, the Hall officially opened in 1939 to celebrate the centennial of Abner Doubleday’s so-called invention of the sport. On the day of its dedication, June 12, baseball legends past and present descended on the sleepy village of Cooperstown, New York, for the Hall’s first induction ceremonies. The coterie included 11 members of the inaugural induction class and 32 Major Leaguers in their prime—two from each team, and nine of whom would go on to be Hall of Famers themselves—who were to play in an exhibition game at Doubleday Field in honor of the historic event. Inductees Honus Wagner and Eddie Collins each managed a team, and ‘The Wagners’ managed to beat ‘The Collins’ 4-2 in the seven inning ballgame, scoring two runs in the sixth behind doubles from Arky Vaughan and Frank Hayes, and a single by Morris Arnovich. The undisputed highlight of the game was a pinch hit appearance by Babe Ruth—then 44 years old and four years removed from his professional career—for Wagner’s squad. The result was a disappointing foul out to the catcher, but his mighty swing did not fail to impress the crowd. Some lucky member of the crowd managed to meet the players and get this program signed—even filling out the lineups but failing to score the game, probably too awestruck by the spectacle at hand. It is a great reminder of a historic event in baseball history, when a group of the greatest players in the world came together to celebrate America’s national pastime. RRAuction COA.