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Home Blog Blog: Collecting the 500 Home Run Club

500 Home Club Members | Autographs & Memorabilia

There are some feats in baseball that are worth remembering and one such feat are the members of the 500 Home Run Club, all 25 of them. Out of those 25 members, 15 have been elected to the Hall of Fame and just two of them are still active (Alex Rodriguez and Jim Thome). Another two players are due to receive votes as to whether they will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame or not this upcoming year, with the rest still a few years away.

Just as this particular baseball feat is important to take note of by baseball fans and historians alike, this is also a feat that many collectors pay very close attention to as well. Having a 500 Home Run Club member single signed baseball in your collection is kind of like having bragging rights over your other collector buddy who doesn’t. Having the entire 25 member set of them in your collection would put you in the rarest of rare clubs – a club that I’m not even sure has any members at the moment.

Here are the 25 members of the 500 Club (* denotes active player):

Player Career Home Runs
Barry Bonds 762
Hank Aaron 755
Babe Ruth 714
Willie Mays 660
*Alex Rodriguez 647
Ken Griffey Jr. 630
*Jim Thome 612
Sammy Sosa 609
Frank Robinson 586
Mark McGwire 583
Harmon Killebrew 573
Rafael Palmeiro 569
Reggie Jackson 563
Manny Ramirez 555
Mike Schmidt 548
Mickey Mantle 536
Jimmie Foxx 534
Ted Williams 521
Willie McCovey 521
Frank Thomas 521
Ernie Banks 512
Eddie Matthews 512
Mel Ott 511
Gary Sheffield 509
Eddie Murray 504

Baseballs signed by members of the “500 Club” started to become popular in the late 1980’s and the interest from collectors has only increased, as has the value of these items. A part of what makes up the value of these baseballs are the players themselves who signed them, the historical context in which they accomplished such a feat, and of course – how common it is to find items signed by them.

The Most Common 500 Club Signed Baseballs

hank-aaron-postYou will most likely find baseballs signed by Frank Robinson, Reggie Jackson, Hank Aaron, Mike Schmidt, Eddie Murray, Ken Griffey Jr., and even Alex Rodriguez. The reason is because these players are all still alive, with Rodriguez currently still playing, and all still participating in signing events to some degree. Because of the reasons stated, the value of these signed baseballs can vary between $300 dollars on upwards of $1,000 dollars or more. The older the ball, the player, and the more rare the signature is to find then the higher the value.

Speaking of rare, you would think that a baseball signed by the home run king (former) himself – Hank Aaron – would be pretty hard to find, but not so much. Hammerin’ Hank is still alive and well and is still signing baseballs for fans and partnering with companies such as Topps to continue to sign baseballs. As a matter of fact, you could probably find a pretty large selection of signed baseballs from most members of the 500 Club. It’s really the players who played during the 1920’s and 30’s that are some of the rarest signatures to find, and when you do they can be very expensive.

Babe Ruth

babe-ruth-postOne such example is Babe Ruth, who hit his 500th home run on August 11, 1929. “The Babe” was very fond of signing autographs and just having a good, all-around, time with the fans and media of his day. What we need to realize, though, is that sports memorabilia didn’t become this worthwhile investment until about 40 years ago – maybe a little less than that.

So, those that did get autographs during Ruth’s era didn’t view them as things that had, or ever would have, great monetary value. Many that received the autographs from Ruth were children who would go out and begin to play a game of baseball with their friends with that signed ball.

The times then were very different from the way they are now, in regards to the way we value sports memorabilia. So if you do happen to have an autographed baseball or other piece of memorabilia signed by The Babe himself, hold onto it because there aren’t too many of those left. Same thing goes for the other members of the 500 Club that have long since passed away, or just never signed a great deal of baseballs or other items throughout their careers.

In our next post we will be talking about the rarest of the rare, Jimmie Foxx and Mel Ott single signed baseballs.

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