Diamond in the Ivy: 1983 Chicago Cubs Team-Signed Ball

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Diamond in the Ivy: 1983 Chicago Cubs Team-Signed Ball
Ryan Sandberg's autograph, along with Steve Lake, Bill Campbell, and Gary Woods.

A rare find.

Cubbie fans, you won't believe this one.

While visiting with my parents today, I noticed a baseball inside the house and didn't think much of it.

I have a little brother who is 12, so I just figured it was something of his not valuable since it was lying around.

When I picked it up, a name jumped out at me instantly: Bill Buckner.

Being the Yankee fan that I am, I was thinking this was a Red Sox baseball right off the bat.

Before I got too excited and started investigating the names on the ball, I wanted to be sure that the autographs were real.

One thought I had at first is, did printed baseballs exist back then? I didn't think so.

The other thing was that most of the autographs had a thick look to them, as if the ink was fading, which made me think it was authentic.

I asked my mom where she found it, and she said it washed down the creek in the backyard.

Very odd place to find an autographed baseball, but that's where it was found.

The condition of the baseball is another thing...I'd give it a five out of 10. Not bad considering how old it is and the fact that some key autographs are still looking good.

Dickie Noles, Bill Buckner, Steve Trout, Mike Proly, Tom Veryzer.

So, then the fun began.

I started to look up the players on the ball, one by one, to figure out the team...that didn't take long.

The Chicago Cubs.

Then the hard part: What year was the ball?

I wanted it to be 1982, because of Ryan Sandberg's rookie season.

However, when I saw the name Ron Cey, I knew the ball was from the following year, 1983, because when the Cubs brought Cey on to play center field, Sandberg moved to second, and the rest is history.

Also, I knew it was 1983 and not 1984 because manager Lee Elia is on the ball. He was replaced by Jim Frey in 1984.

So, I know this is a 1983 Cubs baseball, with 25 autographs on it, and it looks real. I will find out later this week if it is real.

I wanted to share this story with you guys—you just never know what you are going to come across.

This reminds me of the show on the History Channel, Pawn Stars. I wish I lived near Las Vegas; I would bring the ball into the shop.

I can make out plenty of names on this baseball besides Sandberg, Buckner, Elia and Cey, as already described.

Lee Smith, Jerry Morales, Larry Bowa, Wayne Nordhagen, Scott Thompson, Junior Kennedy, Willie Hernandez, Steve Trout, Mike Proly, Tom Veryzer, Dickie Noles, Jody Davis, Fergie Jenkins, Steve Lake, Bill Campbell, Gary Woods, Keith Moreland, Paul Maskau, Warren Brusstar, Leon Durham and Jay Johnstone.

All 25 names on the ball are visible. The only ones you can barely see are Durham, Brusstar, Johnstone and Maskau.

Joe Carter's autograph isn't on the ball, though he was on the team.

The most interesting fact: Every name on this ball is still living, though a few players and coaches on the team but not on the ball have passed.

I don't know what else to say about this find, except that it was really fun trying to figure out what team it was. Now that I have, I hope it is real.

 

Follow me on Twitter @nyyrobinson.

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