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Circa 1880s Boston Red Stockings Season Pass Issued to Team Founder Ivers W. Adams - Signed by Arthur Soden
Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $1,200
Historically significant "Boston Base Ball Association" season pass issued to team founder Ivers. W. Adams and signed by Arthur Soden. The "Complimentary Season Pass," which is both printed and handwritten, grants admittance to "I. W. Adams + Lady for the Ball season of 18__." Signed in black fountain pen by "A. H. Soden Prest" (grading "10"). Although there is no indication in which year this pass was issued, it most likely dates to the late 1870s or early 1880s because it refers to the club as the Boston Base Ball Association, which was the legal corporation established by Adams in 1871 when he founded the Boston Red Stockings. That was the same year in which the Red Stockings became charter members of the National Association, baseball's first professional league. To lead his club, Adams recruited Harry and George Wright of Cincinnati Red Stockings fame, and the brothers were successful in convincing a number of their teammates to join the Red Stockings as well. Boasting a powerhouse lineup, Boston captured four pennants in five seasons before the National Association folded and gave way to the National League in 1876. Adams' ownership of the club was brief, as he sold the club in 1872 to Col. Charles H. Porter, but he was an enthusiastic sportsman and remained an ardent supporter of the Red Stockings for the remainder of his life (he died in 1914). Arthur Soden purchased the Boston Red Stockings prior to the 1877 season and later also briefly served as president of the National League in 1882, following the death of William Hulbert. Soden was known for his penurious ways and is best known today for establishing the reserve clause in 1880. Aside from linking two of the most important baseball owners of the nineteenth century, this pass is also one of the earliest examples we have seen at auction, making it an all the more exceptional relic relating to the birth of professional baseball in Boston. The pass (4.5 x 2.75 inches) displays a moderate diagonal crease running vertically near the left border, as well as a tiny stain in the lower left corner. In Very Good to Excellent condition overall. LOA from James Spence (JSA). SOLD FOR $1,200
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