By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor
The memorabilia collection of one of the greatest hitters in Major League Baseball history is headed to the auction block.
They are the artifacts from the life and career of St. Louis Cardinals great Stan Musial and they’re going to be sold by Dallas-based Heritage Auctions, which will be showcasing some of the pieces at this year’s National Sports Collectors Convention starting tomorrow in Chicago.
More than 500 lots will be sold, including the baseball’s hit for his 1,000th, 2,000th and 3,200th hits of Musial’s legendary career. The auction will be held in October.
“Stan Musial was known as ‘Baseball’s Perfect Knight’ for good reason,” said Chris Ivy, Director of Sports Auctions at Heritage in a prepared release. “His incredible talent and humility on the field influenced his beloved status off, which endures to this day. His legacy will be celebrated in this auction and the top collectors will finally have a chance to acquire some of the things that meant the most to him from his storied career.”
Ivy said The National is a perfect place to showcase the memorabilia, which will also include World Series rings presented to Musial in 2006 and 2011.
“We expect the response to be substantial since Musial’s popularity was nationwide,” he said. “The Musial family has never offered any of Stan’s memorabilia at auction before, though they have donated substantial pieces to museum collections. This is an historic moment in baseball collecting associated with one of the greatest to ever play the game.”
Among the game-used items will be a baseball uniform worm by Musial while in the Navy, while a letter written by Ty Cobb to Musial on the subject of hitting and baseball signed for Musial by Babe Ruth are among the other notable items.
Musial died in January after a prolonged illness. He was 92. A three-time NL MVP, seven-time batting champion and 24-time All-Star, Musial recorded an NL record 3,630 hits at the time of his retirement and batted .331 in 22 big-league seasons, all with the Cardinals. He never led the NL in home runs, but hit 475 for his career, which still ranks in the top 30. He was a member of three World Series champion teams and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1969, his first year on the ballot.
At the time of his death, Musial appeared on 4,880 different baseball cards valued at more than $158,000 not including rarities, according to the Beckett.com database (click here for a checklist or Online Price Guide). Now, he has 5,039 cards totaling more than $166,700.
Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball and Beckett Sports Card Monthly magazines. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.