Friday, October 9, 2015

1943 American Association Championship Ring

Championship rings are the ultimate prize in sports. An athlete's career is often judged by how many he won. This was no less true in the 20th Century than today, and no less true in the minor leagues.

This 1943 American Association championship ring recently came up for auction:

1943 Milwaukee Brewers American Association Championship Ring

Founded in 1902, the American Association was one of the oldest and highest levels of professional baseball’s minor leagues until its merger with the International league in 1997. The original Milwaukee Brewers were a charter member of the American Association and remained in the league until the city was granted a Major League franchise in 1952.

This 10K, size 9, 13.8-gram American Association Championship ring was presented to Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Bill Norman, a member of two consecutive championship teams from 1943-1944. Norman hit .275 with 18 home runs and 83 RBI in 132 games for the Brewers in 1943. This aged but well preserved ring contains an approximately ½ carat diamond in the center of a sliver outlined infield diamond encircled by “American Association Champions” in raised but slightly fading lettering with the league’s American Eagle logo and “1943 Milwaukee AA” on both shanks; Comes with handwritten LOA from Stephen Koschal of Boynton Beach, FLA, dated 5/2/95 verifying purchase of the ring from Norman’s daughter.

This is the second 1943 ring I've seen. The first was owned by skipper Charlie Grimm, but he had the diamond crown replaced with his monogram. This one gives us a good look at the original design.

Gorgeous. I love the eagle/shield design on each shank.

Outfielder Bill Norman was a favorite among Milwaukee's baseball fans, and he loved playing in the city. Although this is one of two rings he won during his time in Milwaukee, he may have been awarded another: the Brewers won their third American Association pennants in a row in 1945, after he left the club in July. In any case, this ring is well-worn and was presumably much-loved.

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