Collectors love mysteries, right? We find something that we can’t immediately identify, and the chase is on. Researching an item can be a lot of fun, and finding something ‘new’ is exciting.
I’ll occasionally post here about a couple of minor oddities in my collection, baseballs that required some research to identify.
The first installment of Mystery Ball is also my latest acquisition. It’s a 1997 Official American Association ball. On the south panel is a logo for the inaugural season of the New Orleans Zephyrs, fresh from their displacement from Denver by the MLB expansion Rockies.
- The ball is leather, not vinyl
- It’s stamped as an official American Association regular season ball
- The logo on the south panel is multi-colored
- The logo says “Inaugural Season”, but the inaugural game date is stamped beneath it
Balls produced for promotional giveaways are typically vinyl, as are most all team logo balls. They’re much cheaper to produce and retail for around $5 at the ballpark or online. When leather balls are produced for promotional giveaways or special events, they are usually limited in number. In addition, it is extremely rare to find a leather ball with multi-colored stamping.
I suspect this ball was either a very limited promo item, perhaps for season ticket holders, or (judging by the fact that the game date is on it) it was one of an even smaller number made for the ceremonial first pitch.
I’m continuing to research it. If anyone has any information on this ball, please contact me. I’ll post an update when I get one.