DALLAS, TEXAS: Heritage Sports Collectibles (HSC) will offer the first Major League home run ball hit by Hall of Fame member and 500 homerun club member Willie McCovey in its September 10th-11th, 2004 Signature Auction, to be held in Long Beach, California. Heritage is the official auctioneer of the Long Beach Collectibles Expo.

"We are very proud to be offering this remarkable piece of baseball history," explained Chris Ivy, Director of Sports Auctions for Heritage Galleries. "This ball is particularly significant in that it is the first of 521 round-trippers hit during McCovey's 22-year career." McCovey had an amazing late-season hitting surge when he joined the San Francisco Giants in July of the 1959 campaign. He batted .358 and had 13 homeruns in only 52 games, which won him a surprising "Rookie of the Year Award" in the National League that year.

Ivy continued, "The impeccable provenance of this piece and the history behind it are what help to set this baseball apart." The consignor, the original fan that caught the ball in Seals Stadium on August 2, 1959, was a young serviceman stationed at nearby Fort Ord attending his first major league baseball game with two soldier friends when he snagged the ball. The consignor recounts, "The ball came right to me about two feet over my head. Having played a lot of baseball in high school and college before entering the service, I caught the ball cleanly with my bare hands, and it didn't hurt at all. Nobody saw me catch it, and I immediately put it inside my shirt so nobody would know where it was." The soldiers then made their way to the Giants' clubhouse door following the game, where they were successful in getting the autographs of Leon Wagner, Felipe Alou, and of course, Willie McCovey. All neatly penned on the side panel of this game rubbed, Warren Giles, Official National League Spalding baseball. Included with the ball are several original newspaper articles recounting the event.

"This extraordinary baseball artifact will certainly create quite a stir among sports collectors, and we are pleased to offer it at public auction," added Jim Halperin, Co-Chairman of Heritage Galleries. The Texas-based firm, with 2003 sales exceeding $200 million, is the world's largest collectibles auctioneer, handling rare coins, sports collectibles, currency, comic books, vintage movie posters, illustration art, and antique silver. For more information about Heritage, please visit www.HeritageGalleries.com.

HSC specializes in rare and collectible sports cards, as well as uniforms, equipment, and related vintage sports memorabilia. Consignments for the September Signature Sports Auction are still being accepted. Prospective consignors or sellers of quality vintage sports cards and sports memorabilia are encouraged to contact:

Chris Ivy at 800-872-6467 Ext. 319 or email: [email protected]
Sam Foose at 800-872-6467 Ext. 227 or email: [email protected]
Stephen Carlisle at 800-872-6467 Ext. 292 or email: [email protected]

To order the September Signature catalog, call Kathy Eilers at 214-252-4392, c/o Heritage Sports Collectibles, 3500 Maple Avenue, 17th Floor, Dallas, TX 75219.