Autograph aficionados bag some really big game, with this extremely rare Ed Walsh single-signed game used baseball. The "black ink" on "Big Ed" is astounding, with 67 league leading entries recorded. Technically this Hall of Fame hurler's MLB career lasted 14 years from 1904-1917, but in reality his playing time amounted to about ten full seasons, with an arm injury plaguing him from 1913 onward. Even so, his impact on the game was tremendous, peaking with a league leading 40 wins in 1908. That same year he also led the league in games, starts, complete games, innings, shutouts, strikeouts and incredibly with saves as well. His lifetime WHIP is a tidy 1.000 and to this day more than a hundred years after he retired, he still holds the career record for ERA, with an unparalleled mark of 1.82.
When he was through as a Major Leaguer, Walsh spent some time pitching in the Eastern League and then tried his hand at umpiring in the American League. His baseball career ended after a couple of coaching stints with his old team the Chicago White Sox in the 1920s. It was likely during this period that he signed the ball presented here. Though darkened to mottled shades of walnut brown with key identifying elements partially obscured, enough of the Reach factory labeling is legible to date this game used OAL/Johnson baseball as either a 1913-1917 model or a 1918-1924 model, with the latter being the more likely type, coinciding with Walsh's 1923-1924 tenure as a White Sox coach. Plainly visible to the naked eye despite the considerable darkening of the ball's surface, Walsh's sweet spot signature still projects as a firm ("7") strength example, with deference to the diminished eye appeal caused by said surface darkening. Compensating for this condition is the authentic period look of this extremely rare antique treasure, which stands as a major acquisition for a comprehensive Hall of Fame autograph collection. Full photo LOA from PSA/DNA.