LAS VEGAS (CN) – Online auction house American Memorabilia sold five collector’s items, including baseballs signed by Hank Greenberg and Lefty Gomez, but stiffed the man who consigned them, the man claims in Clark County Court.
Michael Darwish seeks at least $20,000 from the auctioneers, claiming they sold his baseballs signed by Greenberg, Gomez, Burleigh Grimes and Monte Irvin, and cleats signed by Ozzie Smith.
Darwish says he consigned the items to American Memorabilia in 2008, but it never paid him his unspecified cut after selling them.
Darwish is represented by Griffith Hayes with Cooksey Toolen.
Greenberg, the first Jew elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame, endured anti-Semitic taunts throughout his career, and became a hero to Jews nationwide. A career .313 hitter, he was twice elected MVP, and hit 58 home runs in 1938.
Gomez won 189 games and was an All-Star for seven consecutive years in the 1930s. He was the winning pitcher in the first All-Star game, and also drove in the first run of the game.
Burleigh Grimes, a pitcher, went 270-212 and was the last pitcher who was allowed to throw the spitball, legally. Baseball “officially” banned the spitter in 1920 but allowed 17 pitchers already in the league to keep throwing it.
Irvin, a star in the old Negro Leagues, was one of the first black players signed after Jackie Robinson. He hit .293 with the New York Giants and Chicago Cubs, and was a leader in the Giants’ “miracle” season of 1951, driving in a league-best 121 runs before Bobby Thompson won the pennant for the team with his famous home run against the Dodgers. That year, Irvin, Willie Mays and Hank Thompson were the Major League’s first all-black outfield.
Ozzie Smith, a Cardinal, was known for doing a backflip as he ran out to his position at shortstop.