Thursday, February 26, 2015

Aaron's 2,000th-hit ball lost to history

At a ballgame in Philadelphia in 1964 one fan had a $10,000+ gift drop into his lap. Because the significance of the bequest went unrecognized, however, it has been lost to the hobby. 

No collector will ever be able to own the baseball that Hank Aaron hit for his 2,000th major league career hit on July 12, 1964.

It's likely that few of the 28,044 fans at the Sunday doubleheader at Connie Mack Stadium in Philadelphia knew that the ball was something special if they happened to snag it as a foul ball later in the game.

Fact is, there was no announcement made in the stadium about the milestone.

Aaron's 2000th hit came in the top of the 7th inning of the second game of the twin-bill, off Phillies reliever Jack Baldschun. It was a line-drive RBI single to left field, scoring Eddie Mathews to pull the Braves ahead 5-2 in the game they would win 6-2.

It was Aaron's second hit of the game, and he had gone 2-for-5 in the opener.

Apparently nobody in the announcer's booth was doing a countdown to 2,0000 or realized the significance of Aaron's hit.

Aaron himself didn't initially recognize his milestone. He said later that he didn't realize it until the next inning when he heard it on the radio in the clubhouse. By then, presumably, the 2,000-hit ball had been fouled into the stands and was in the hands of an unsuspecting fan.

A belated announcement of the accomplishment was made in the stadium the next day.

In today's baseball memorabilia market, you know Aaron's 2,000th-hit ball would have decent collector value, but just how much? In Nov., 2013, the ball Stan Musial hit in 1952 for his 2,000th hit sold in a heritage auction for $13,145. I'd guess Aaron's milestone ball would bring something in advance of that figure.

Topps recognized Aaron's 2,000th-hit in 2013 in a Baseball Flashback insert card in its Heritage issue, "Hank Hammers Hot No. 2000".

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