A rare baseball single-signed by former Dodgers president Walter O’Malley has sold at auction for $28,096 to an undisclosed buyer. The auction was handled by Lelands Auction House, and the remarkable baseball is in excellent condition.
The online auction took place last night with 34 bids recorded.
Walter O’Malley, who passed away in 1979, rarely signed baseballs so finding a baseball with his autograph, in this condition, is uncommon.
Lelands, founded in 1969, is the largest and most respected Auction House in the world. In just the past five years alone, more than $40 million worth of vintage sports memorabilia and cards has sold through their Auction House. This O’Malley signed baseball is only the second of its kind they have handled.
O’Malley was inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame in 2008. He established a legacy as one of sport’s top visionaries and businessmen, building a first-class organization based on long-term stability and success. As President of the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers, one of baseball’s most enduring and beloved teams, he inscribed his reputation as an astute owner.
Not only did he set the gold standard for sports organizations, his pioneering move of the Brooklyn Dodgers to the West Coast in 1958 advanced the nationwide growth and success of the sport. His crowning achievement was designing, privately financing and building Dodger Stadium, the finest baseball ballpark of its time and, more than 55 years after it opened, remains as one of Los Angeles’ most recognizable and popular landmarks.
Historic Dodgertown – Vero Beach, Florida opened in 1948 as Dodgertown, the Spring Training home of the Dodgers team, and became Major League Baseball’s first fully-integrated Spring Training facility in the South. Walter O’Malley began his ownership interest in 1944 and became the Dodgers’ president in 1950. Under his leadership the former Naval Air Base transformed into the model for Spring Training facilities with fields, living quarters, dining and recreation all in one location. It was a unique approach. Establishing a sense of teamwork early-on carried throughout the season and led to six World Championship teams which got their start at Dodgertown.
In December 1999, The Sporting News named O’Malley the 11th Most Powerful Person in Sports over the last century, while ABC Sports ranked O’Malley in its Top 10 Most Influential People “off the field” in sports history as voted by the Sports Century panel.