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The Splendid Splinter is finally getting the best of the Yankee Clipper when it comes to pre-orders of stamps from a new set featuring Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Willie Stargell and Larry Doby.
Williams' stamp leads with 14,380 pre-orders, followed by DiMaggio at 10,100, former Pittsburgh Pirate Willie Stargell with 5,920, and Cleveland Indians great Larry Doby with 4,700.
“Baseball fans are relentless for stepping up to the plate to support their teams and players," United States Postal Service Stamp Services Manager Stephen Kearney said. "I’m sure as the summer unfolds it will be like a tight pennant race as we see who buys the most individual player sheets.”
Back in their playing days, DiMaggio, of the New York Yankees, always seemed to get the better of Williams, even though some argue the Red Sox slugger was the best hitter in history not named Babe Ruth. In both 1941 and 1947, the years Williams won the American League's vaunted Triple Crown by leading the league in home runs, RBI and batting average, it was DiMaggio who sportswriters voted as the league's Most Valuable Player.
The stamps appeal to both philatelists -- the fancy name for stamp collectors -- and baseball memorabilia fans. So far, the United States Postal Service has taken orders for 35,100 stamps, and that's before they've even been made available at USPS offices around the country.
“It’s a double header for baseball fans,” Kearney remarked. “And of special interest to baseball memorabilia collectors, we’re pre-selling some of our first-ever pristine, no perforations uncut press sheets.”
First issue dedication ceremonies will be held in the cities where the Hall of Famers played, as well as Cooperstown, N.Y., home of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Individual player stamp sheets will only be sold in limited quantities at select Post Offices within the five cities having dedication ceremonies. Stamps can be pre-ordered here, and stamp sheets featuring all four players can be purchased at USPS office locations nationwide on July 20.
The stamps' illustrations, based on historic photographs, were designed by Kadir Nelson and were under the art direction of Phil Jordan.