Since 1033, when Chicago Tribune sports editor Arch Wood convinced the two professional baseball leagues to play an exhibition with their top players, the Baseball All-Star Game has offered fans the opportunity to see players shine in a spotlight not found during regular team play.
The mid-summer classic between the best of the American and National Leagues doesn’t always settle arguments over who is the best player but there is no better playground on which to make the comparisons.
“That’s why All-Star collecting is such an interesting hobby,” said Dennis Tuttle, a contributing writer to Tuff Stuff magazine. “The World Series is about the team, but the All-Star Game is about one-upmanship.”
Newspaper reports, programs, ticket stubs and team-signed balls serve as reminders of when the greats of the game were on a single stage.
“While most of today’s All-Star collectibles are mass produced, vintage items pop up in major auctions and draw huge bids,” said Tuttle. “But there’s plenty of interesting items for every price range.”
All-Star Game tickets do not have the demand of World Series tickets, so prices for the rarest stubs are usually less than $750. Most are priced less than $40 .
The most desired ticket is from the first game at the old Comiskey Park. Full tickets are extremely rare, and stubs can reach $1,000.
Baseballs signed by All-Stars are some of the most attractive to collectors.
“You’re guaranteed to have some future Hall of Famers on the ball,” said Tuttle.
Players tend to be more generous with their signatures at this game. Such notoriously difficult signers as Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Eddie Murray did not flinch when it came to signing at recent All-Star games.
A 1933 American League team-signed ball featuring Babe Ruth’s signature on the “sweet spot” sold at auction for $10,443.
The 1939 American League ball is one of the most hotly pursued of team-signed All-Star balls. Despite retiring from baseball a few days earlier, Lou Gehrig was an honorary team member and signed most of the team balls.
“Most All-Star Game baseballs, if they’re fairly complete, are worth at least a few hundred dollars,” Tuttle said.
Newspaper special editions and bonus sections generally are priced at less than $20.
Exceptions are the July 10, 1934, New York Herald Tribune featuring Carl Hubbell’s pitching valued at $45, and the July 9, 1941, Detroit Free Press with Ted Williams hitting the winning home in the ninth at $55.
All-Star Game programs are packed with features, profiles and game history. Roughly 100,000 copies are now the usual print run, but time has proven that programs just 25 years old have a market.
To celebrate the silver anniversary of the game in 1983, a special program was issued with the logo on a white background. The mass-produced program is valued at $15, but many collectors got autographs on the predominantly white cover that can escalate the value to hundreds of dollars.
Press pins, given out to each member of the press covering the game, are not cheap. On average, they run $100 to $400 in value, according to Tuttle. The first six issues go for anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000.
The 1956 pin memorializing Washington Senators, team owner Clark Griffith is valued at $350.
Other interesting All-Star items include the 1983 Babe Ruth stamp commemorating the game’s 50th anniversary ($4), the 1993 poster featuring Cal Ripken Jr. ($50), and starting lineup voting ballots ($1 to $3).
The economics of modern-era All-Star memorabilia has not been lost on Major League Baseball. New bases are brought every inning, and players change apparel more often than a runway model in a Paris fashion show.
All of it resulting in this year’s crop of All-Star game-used jerseys, caps, bats, balls, shoes and signed bases for fans to to add to their collections.
Copyright 2002 by Krause Publications. For a free catalog of Krause Publications books or periodicals on collectibles, write Public Relations, Dept. IC, Krause Publications, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990-0001, or visit www.collect.com on the worldwide web, or e-mail [email protected]

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