|By Matthew D. Ernst
OVERLAND, Mo. — Fifty years after Stan Musial’s retirement, “The Man” is still setting records in St. Louis.
“As far as we can tell, we set a new record for a game-used Musial glove,” said auctioneer Rob Weiman of Mound City Auctions. The glove, during Musial’s last season in 1963, realized $19,800. Weiman said he believed the previous high for a game-used Musial glove to be $5,975.
The right-hand, six-finger Rawlings outfielder’s glove is signed “Stan” above the “Patent applied for” mark and signed “Stan” with a “6” underneath under the Edge-U-Cated mark on the glove’s heel.
The glove has exceptional provenance. It was originally a gift from Musial to Randy Benson, consignor of the June 22 auction’s 200 lots. Benson, son of longtime major league baseball coach and scout Vern Benson, was a Cardinals batboy. Musial gave the glove to Randy when the Benson family had to move to Vern Benson’s new coaching assignment in 1963.
Included with the glove was a photograph of Musial, Vern Benson, Randy Benson and Bill White in the background. Musial inscribed the photo to Vern Benson.
Another Musial item was the auction’s second headliner. A spring training jersey with Musial’s “6” realized $11,000. The jersey was originally issued to Cardinal pitching ace Steve Carlton, who wore number 32. Carlton’s name is still embroidered on the bottom of the jersey, but the original “32” has been replaced with Musial’s “6.”
The jersey was likely a Spring Training jersey issued to Carlton, modified for Musial when he came to Florida to serve as a batting instructor for the Cardinals after retirement.
“It is a one-of-a-kind piece,” said Rob Weiman.
Older Cardinals memorabilia was included in the collection, including a 1933 contract for Frank Frisch, the Hall of Fame second baseman and player-manager for the “Gas House Gang” Cardinals. The contract, realizing $2,790, included the signature of another Hall of Famer, Branch Rickey, the general manager for the Cardinals and Brooklyn Dodgers. The auction’s next-highest selling Cardinal memorabilia, a ball autographed by the 1946 World Series Champion team, realized $605.
Vern Benson also worked for the New York Yankees and Cincinnati Reds organizations. A 1965 Yankees scorecard, signed by 26 players including Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford and catcher Elston Howard, hit $550. A Yankees pennant from that era realized $77.
The auction’s highest-selling autographed baseball, filled with All Star autographs, reached $625. The ball was signed by Bob Feller, Ed Mathews, Willie McCovey, Bob Lemon, Lou Brock, Roger Maris, Monty Irvin, Ernie Banks and Hank Aaron.
The auction was held three weeks before Major League Baseball’s All-Star Break and, like in the All Star Game, some selections stayed on the bench. A 1930s Dizzy Dean contract, accompanied with offer and acceptance letters, was offered with reserve and did not sell after an opening bid of $5,000.
The auction combined floor bids and online bidding with Auctionzip Live, well-attended in both venues, said Rob Weiman. “Our best lots sold in-house,” he noted.