Could there be a more appropriate sports memorabilia purchase than buying a baseball autographed by former Detroit Tigers great Hank Greenberg at a live auction during the Hank Greenberg Memorial Golf Invitational?
Harry Glanz did just that at the 27th annual invitational held last month at Franklin Hills Country Club in Franklin.
The West Bloomfield resident paid $850 for the baseball, which was donated for the auction.
“I’m not sure how old the baseball is. I’m guessing 1935 to 1938,” Glanz said. “It’s signed by a few other Tigers of that era. Goose Goslin. Pete Fox. Rudy York.
“I’ve been told the ball is worth $1,500. I don’t care. It’s not going anywhere. It’s staying in my sports memorabilia collection, which will eventually go to my kids.”
Glanz’s collection includes autographed baseballs from stars like Sandy Koufax, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron and Ted Williams.
The Greenberg autographed baseball isn’t in pristine condition, Glanz said. Like many autographed baseballs of that time, it’s covered with shellac to preserve it.
According to Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA), a third-party authentication service for autographs and memorabilia based in Newport Beach, Calif., “when it came to meeting the demands of fans and collectors, Greenberg was one of the most personable and kind players in baseball history.”
For most of his life, according to PSA, Greenberg signed “Hank” instead of his full first name “Henry” when he wrote his autograph. That’s what Glanz’s baseball says.
Days after buying it, Glanz was still thrilled with the purchase.
“Hank Greenberg meant so much to so many in the Jewish community when he was playing for the Tigers,” Glanz said.
Greenberg’s admirers included Glanz’s late father, Edwin Glanz, and late father-in-law, Dr. Conrad Pearl.
There’s a photo of Greenberg and Pearl in Glanz’s basement. It was taken June 12, 1983, the day Greenberg’s No. 5 and Charlie Gehringer’s No. 2 were retired by the Tigers at Tiger Stadium.
Greenberg died in 1986. Gehringer died in 1993.
Glanz, president and co-founder of Capital Mortgage Funding in Southfield, said he’s been attending the Hank Greenberg Memorial Golf Invitational for about 20 years.
He’s been on the board of the sponsoring Michigan Jewish Sports Foundation for 10 years, so he knows the invitational raises funds for cancer research and children’s charities.
This year’s recipients are the Karmanos Cancer Institute at the Lawrence & Idell Weisberg Cancer Treatment Center in Farmington Hills and Kids Kicking Cancer.
That’s another reason, Glanz said, why he was so happy to buy the Greenberg autographed baseball.
David Blatt, the MJSF’s executive director, said the invitational once again was a sellout with 140 golfers plus the celebrities who attended.
The weather was perfect, and Blatt said the honorees at the dinner program were pure class.
Among the honorees were Hall of Fame pitcher Ferguson Jenkins, who received the Hank Greenberg Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award, and broadcaster Dick Enberg, who was presented the Dick Schapp Memorial Award for Media Excellence.
ESPN reporter Jeremy Schapp, whose father, a sports writer and broadcaster, is the namesake for the Dick Schapp Award, was the program emcee. Steve Greenberg, Hank’s son, was at the invitational as always.
The Barry Bremen Memorial Inspiration Award went to Rabbi Elimelech Goldberg, founder and national director of Kids Kicking Cancer, an organization dedicated to helping children overcome the pain of cancer through martial arts and spiritual training.
Bremen was known as “The Great Imposer” for his ability to become a part of sports and other events.
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