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Lot # 978 (of 1641)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1872 Mort Rogers Boston (vs. Philadelphia) National Association Scorecard with Cal McVey on Cover

Starting Bid - $2,000, Sold For - $11,850

Presented is one of finest and highest-grade 1872 Mort Rogers scorecards in existence: This extraordinary example, which was one of the highlights of the legendary Jerry Smolin Program Collection (and has been consigned here directly from the purchaser at that auction), features Cal McVey on the cover. In the early 1870s former ballplayer and baseball entrepreneur Mort Rogers published an extremely famous series of ornately designed scorecards for sale at Boston's South End Grounds. What set these cards apart from the standard scorecards of the era was the inclusion of an oval portrait photograph of a Major League player affixed to the cover. Today, Mort Rogers scorecards are not only exceedingly rare (we've only had three during the past forty years), but they are also one of the most highly prized baseball souvenirs of any kind from the era. While they are clearly programs, Mort Rogers scorecards also have much in common with cards. The offered example dates from 1872 and, as noted, features a photo of Boston Red Stockings catcher Cal McVey on the front. McVey was also a member of the legendary 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings just a few years earlier. These were obviously made with great care and one at a time. The stock is not thin paper, but instead is thick and "card-like." A very small strip of white paper is part of the design of the program (as made) and has been affixed to the blank area below McVey's image, partially upon which is scripted the name "C A McVey" in vintage black fountain pen (name is an identifier only; it is not McVey's signature). Even the design of program declares it to be a card: "Mort Rogers' Base Ball Photographic Card" is preprinted along the top of the front cover. The scorecard is hand-numbered "48" in black fountain pen in the upper right corner. The fact that these programs are hand-numbered, identified, and assembled gives an indication of their extremely modest production number at the time. The cost was enormous to produce these scorecards, and the cost was great for fans as well, as evidenced by the price of ten cents per photographic scorecard as noted on the cover. This was an enormous sum for a program in 1872.

This scorecard was produced for sale at a National Association game played between the Boston Red Stockings and Philadelphia Athletics on June 12, 1872, at Boston's South End Grounds. The preprinted lineups include an extraordinary gallery of great stars of the era: Cap Anson, Ned Cuthbert, Dick McBride, Levi Meyerle, Dickie Flowers, Mike McGeary, Wes Fisler, Fred Treacey, and Denny Mack for Philadelphia, and George Wright, Harry Wright, Al Spalding, Cal McVey, Ross Barnes, Andy Leonard, Charlie Gould, Harry Schafer, and Fraley Rogers for Boston. (The lineups are preprinted on a sheet which was then affixed to the scorecard; as originally issued.) Based upon the combination of player names listed for each club, this scorecard can be pinpointed to the 1872 season. The score pages have been neatly scored in pencil and record a 13-4 Boston victory. Research indicates that the only 13-4 Boston home victory over Philadelphia in 1872 occurred on June 12th. The National Association, which operated from 1871 through 1875, was baseball's first professional league, and all material relating to its short-lived existence is exceedingly rare. Mort Rogers scorecards are no exception and represent one of the most substantial and desirable items relating to the dawn of Major League baseball. This is one of only a few Mort Rogers scorecard we have ever seen, and of those few is is It also one of the most attractive and the finest in terms of condition. The scorecard (3.5 x 5.25 inches) displays a hint of light toning (primarily along the interior) and is in extraordinary Excellent condition overall. Reserve $2,000. Estimate $5,000+. SOLD FOR $11,850

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