Saturday, January 26, 2013

Bible containing 31 signatures from 1953 Pittsburgh Pirates discovered in Sacramento


A Bible signed by 30 players from the 1953 Pittsburgh Pirates, and manager Fred Haney, was recently discovered in California.

The historic book was among the many items donated to the Friends of the Sacramento Public Library last year. However, it took until one week ago for Joanne Murphy, a book repairer, to open it up and peek inside.

The first page of the Bible included 31 different signatures along with "Pirates 1953" written across the top in blue ink.

"The Bible had been sitting in my shop for months waiting to get repaired," said Murphy, 65. "No one wanted it."

It turns out the Bible was signed and given to their general manager Branch Rickey, who is best known for signing Jackie Robinson, and thus helping pave the way for Robinson to break the color barrier.

The funny thing is, though, none of the five former players reached by The Sacramento Bee recalled even signing it.

"I don't remember signing it, but maybe I did," said Eddy Fitz Gerald, a former catcher.

Perhaps the guys vowed to forget everything about that '53 campaign. The Buccos finished dead last in the National League that year after posting a pitiful 50-104 record.

Christopher Jakle, the grandson of the late Rickey, says he would be interested in buying the book back.

Baseball collectors have told Murphy the restored Bible could fetch as much as $800. The Bible will be on public display next month in honor of Black History Month at the central branch of the Sacramento Public Library.

It is still unknown how the Bible made its way to the West Coast.

Rickey, who died in 1965 at the age of 83, was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1967.

Via The Sacramento Bee

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