My dad caught a ball at Yankee Stadium in late 1961…the final game of the season when Maris hit #61 (Oct 1, 1961). Unfortunately it was only a foul ball. After the game he somehow made it into the locker room to get it signed. Someone in the clubhouse swapped it out. They gave him another ball…a Continental League baseball. I thought it was odd since the league never actually played a game and this was at Yankee Stadium.
The brainchild of William Shea (namesake of Shea Stadium), the Continental League was slated to start in 1961 with Branch Rickey as its president, but it never came to fruition. Instead the two leagues agreed on expansion (adding the Colt 45s, Mets, Angels, and Twins) instead of losing money to a 3rd major league. My best guess is that Shea gave these balls out like “business cards” to promote the league. Someone in the locker room probably had one on hand. Anyway..my dad was able to get most of the team to sign
Read more about the history of the failed Continental League (NY Times)
Ed “Whitey” Ford
Missing a few players. Most notable is Roger Maris. He was probably a little busy after the game. Haha. I don’t collect signed baseballs, it isn’t the prettiest nor most expensive, but it’s one of my favorite items.