February 2019 Winter Premium Auction
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 3/3/2019
Hall of Famer Lou Boudreau is credited with creating the infield shift, but not for the reasons most would argue in favor of the shift as it's been normalized in today's game. As player-manager for the Cleveland Indians, Boudreau shifted both his infield and outfield to the right of second base when facing Boston pull-hitter, Ted Williams, leaving only his third baseman and left fielder to cover virtually half of the field. Despite his teammates urging him to either bunt or hit to left, Ted Williams proceeded as normal with his characteristic pride, and the shift failed to significantly impact his hitting. Years later in his autobiography, Boudreau admitted that the shift against Williams was more of a psychological ploy than a defensive one, an argument with which more than a few of today's baseball analysts would agree.

A First Team All-American basketball player at the University of Illinois in 1938, Boudreau gave up his right to play in collegiate athletics when he signed an agreement with Cleveland GM Cy Slapnicka to play baseball for The Tribe after he graduated. He appeared in a single game for the Indians in 1938, followed by 53 games in 1939, and then earned a spot on the 1940 AL All-Star team by hitting .295 with 46 doubles and 101 RBI in 155 games in his first full season. The following year, he helped end Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak when he snagged a bad-hop grounder to short barehanded, starting a double play the retired DiMaggio at first. After the '41 season, Boudreau was named player-manager of the Indians, and in 1948 he steered the team to its first World Series championship in 28 years, batting .355 for the season and winning the AL MVP.

Although his 1948-49 Leaf card has traditionally been recognized as "Handsome Lou's" official rookie card, the former Fighting Illini appears on half of a dozen earlier issues, the earliest of which is the 1939-1946 Salutation Exhibits. Recently graded PSA 9 Mint on behalf of our consignor as a part of our Cost-Free Consignment Program, the offered example of Boudreau's Salutation Exhibits rookie card ranks as the single highest graded copy on record at PSA, a sparkling Pop 1 in its grade whose closest competitors are a pair two grades lower in the NM-MT 8 column, followed by a single NM+ 7.5. Whether you collect high-grade HOF rookie cards or are obsessed with the simple charm and massive scope of the Exhibits Master Set, or both, this card merits your serious consideration.
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $500
Final prices include buyers premium: $1,082
Number Bids: 6
Auction closed on Sunday, March 3, 2019.
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