Rare Piece of Indians Memorabilia Up for Sale
Bob Toth | On 16, May 2016
Do you have $20,000 burning a hole in your bank account that you just don’t know what to do with?
Send it to me. Student loans and mortgage payments are hard to deal with. No? I tried.
If you aren’t feeling so generous, but you are in a position to purchase a unique piece of Cleveland Indians history, one lucky fan could come to own an extremely rare collectible from the legendary 1948 season.
Keltner was one of many of the heroes of Cleveland in 1948, hitting .297 over 153 games on the year while demolishing several personal bests over the course of the season. He was second on the team with 31 home runs and 119 RBI (trailing only future Hall of Famer Joe Gordon), while ousting his previous personal highs of 26 and 113 set in 1938. His batting average was his best full mark since 1939 and his on-base percentage of .395 was the highest it would climb in his career after he drew 89 walks, 30 more than his previous career best set the season before. He finished 14th in the Most Valuable Player voting and made the seventh and final All-Star Game of his 13-year career.
The Milwaukee native manned the hot corner throughout the season, just as he had done regularly after making his Major League debut in the second-to-last game of the 1937 season. He spent a dozen seasons in Cleveland, hitting .276 for his career with 163 homers, and concluded his playing days with a baker’s dozen in Boston. He is oftentimes associated as the man whose slick fielding on July 17, 1941, at Cleveland Stadium helped to end the 56-game hitting streak of the New York Yankees’ Joe DiMaggio, a record still standing for consecutive games with a hit in Major League Baseball history.
The ring itself features the words “World Champions Cleveland Indians 1948” on a drapery design, below a baseball diamond-shaped diamond estimated around one-third of a karat. Those pieces are atop a black ring face believed to be black onyx. On the inside of the band, several inscriptions have been made, including “LGB” for the manufacturer Balfour; 10K gold; and the name of the ring’s former owner, Ken Keltner.
The item is described as being in excellent condition with mild surface wear. The crown is categorized as loose and possibly in need of remounting. The ring also comes with a letter of authenticity from the estate of the late Keltner.
Worthridge Auctions and Retail celebrated the grand opening of its new storefront in Greensboro, North Carolina, on February 10 of this year. They held their inaugural auction on June 8, 2014. They have represented several items in the past affiliated with the Indians, including a 1922 original panoramic photograph of the team, a game-used bat belonging to former Indians outfielder Shoeless Joe Jackson from the latter years of his playing career before his banishment from professional baseball, and vintage photographs of Hall of Famer Tris Speaker and former Indians catcher Les Nunamaker.
The Keltner ring appears to have been available since at least May of last year, first on the ebay.com website before being included as part of a large auction by Worthridge from September 30 to October 25, 2015.