Without A Doubt A Rawling's Official Baseball That Was Played Heavily. I Came Across This Baseball And Even Though It's Only Worth A Penny I Took An Interest In It.
Could Be A Double Line Since Thick Shadow Was Used In Early 1950's
"Official Ball" Can Barely Be Made Out Even Though The Ink Is Smeared And Obliterated With Remnants Of The Stars On Both Sides. Could Be A Ford Frick Ball Since He Served As Commisioner From 1951 To 1965 But The Bottom Stamp Cannot Be Made Out.
Smeared In From Hitting The Dirt Makes Bottom Stamping Unreadable
It was very hard to find out which year this baseball was manufactured in but there are just enough markers to make a determination of the year range. This ball was played plenty and has surface cuts and ding pin holes in it. Looks like it was mudded but that is undetermined as I've only seen old mudded balls and the look is simular. Was this ball used in major league play? Who knows. This ball was played in games alot but it could have been used in Litte League, High School, College or Minor League play. Rawlings most popular off the store shelf baseball was of a different stamping design. One can only speculate as to the history of games this ball was used in but it was played.
The markings are just about all worn off and the remnants of text left are just enough to make out it being a possible double line that had the thick shadow in the early to mid 1950's, "R" in the word Rawlings and one of the stars that were used on each side of the word "Official" can be made out. Rawlings did not go to solid text lines until 1959 or 1960 so my belief at this time is this baseball was manufactured between 1955 and 1959. There are some remnants of the text in the sweet spot but it is unreadable except for the "Star" that remains. A star spike on the other side can be made out also with a magnifying glass.
Spalding owned the "Reach" brand of baseball. Reach started putting the stars on each side of the word Official in the 1940's as my research lead me to believe. Spalding purchased the Rawlings company in 1955. Rawlings started using the "Double Line" lettering in 1953 before Spalding purchased the company. Back in those days and before Spalding used the "Reach" company to manufacture "American League" baseballs while Spalding itself manufactured "National League" baseballs.
After Spalding purchased Rawlings in 1955 they stopped using "Reach" to manufacture "American League" baseballs and moved the American League baseball manufacturing over to Rawlings. I've seen Rawlings balls marked, "National League" but this may predate the Spalding Takeover of Rawlings. Any Reach baseballs can be dated before 1955. Since the "Reach" company was using putting the stars on each side of the word "Official" this was transferred over to the Rawlings baseballs.
Finding a Rawlings marked baseball during the time period between 1955 and 1959 I haven't been able to do yet so my input on this baseball is only educated speculation from the very little information I can find at this time. Any or all of the information in this article, "May Change" as I continue to look at this ball. Even though this ball may not be worth anything I just caught an interest in burning lots of hours researching it.
During the 1950's baseball was at the height of its popularity and company logo's and stamping were changing. Spalding balls were the popular and most sold. Rawling balls during the 1950's was just a small market share Spalding wanted to own for full control over the baseball market. In the 1960's the U.S. Government filed an anti trust lawsuit on Spalding and they had to sell off parts of its holdings.
Many autographed baseballs may have been autographed in one year but the balls are much older with all the stamping worn off of them.
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