Before the much-ballyhooed, Ruth-led Tour of Japan in 1934, baseball ambassador Herb Hunter and author Fred Lieb organized a 2-month postseason tour in 1931 that included 17 games before as many as a half million spectators. Headliner Lou Gehrig reported back to the New York Times, “The enthusiasm of the Japanese for baseball just about borders on the fanatical. Everywhere we played we packed them in, and after the games thousands who had been locked out still would be standing in the streets waiting for us to come out. At times it would take hours for our cars to take us from the park to the hotel.” Collectibles from the 1931 Tour are significantly scarcer than those from 1934, and this is certainly one of the nicer '31 team-signed balls circulating in the hobby. A heavy coat of vintage shellac has protected the fountain-pen signatures these past 90 years, resulting in bold, clear examples averaging "7-8" strength. The east panel of the medium-toned ONL (Heydler) ball is notated, "United States All Stars / Touring Japan 1931 / Presented to C.G. Davidson."
Sweet Spot: Tom Oliver, Lefty Grove
North Panel: Willie Kamm, Lefty O'Doul, Rabbit Maranville, Bruce Cunningham, Ralph Shinners, Beans Reardon (light surface scuff underneath)
South Panel: George Kelly, Mickey Cochrane, Frankie Frisch, Muddy Ruel
West Panel: Lou Gehrig, Fred Lieb, Herb Hunter
East Panel: Larry French, Al Simmons
Full LOA from JSA.