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1889 Brooklyn Base Ball Club Imperial Team Display Photo - Champions of the American Association!
Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $16,590
Spectacular large-format team photo (21 x 15 inches) capturing fifteen members of the 1889 Brooklyn Bridegrooms, Champions of the American Association. The elegant studio photograph pictures each team member in uniform, with the exception of the nattily attired manager Bill McGunnigle. Ideally, each team member is identified in print along the base of the mount: Germany Smith, George Pickney, Pop Corkhill, Bob Caruthers, Adonis Terry, Hub Collins, Dave Foutz, Mickey Hughes, Bill McGunnigle (Mgr.), Darby O'Brien, Oyster Burns, Doc Bushong, Bob Clark, Joe Visner, and Tom Lovett. Additional lettering on the mount includes the team name ("Brooklyn Base Ball Team"), the year ("1889"), the photographer's credit ("Gardner & Co."), and the fact that Brooklyn was "Champions of the American Association." Brooklyn was a member of the American Association from 1884 to 1890; however, 1889 was the only year in which they won the pennant. Unfortunately, they were defeated in the World Series by their crosstown rivals, the New York Giants. Foutz and Burns were the hitting stars for Brooklyn in 1889, with both players registering 100 or more RBI, including Foutz's leage-leading total of 113. On the mound, the club was paced by Caruther's league-leading 40 wins.
Baseball photos of this size, let alone team photos of major league clubs, dating from the 1800s are exceedingly rare. The only other original example of this particular team photo we have ever seen was in the form of a cabinet card, which appeared as Lot 25 in REA's May 2004 auction, where it realized a final sales price of $6,900. Adding to the appeal of this image is its design, which is extremely similar to that of the Joseph Hall cabinets of the same era; in fact, at first glance this gem is easily mistaken for a Joseph Hall Imperial cabinet, as it includes all of the artistry and style associated with the famed New York photographer. This is simply an extraordinary nineteenth-century team photo in all respects and one of the finest examples we have ever offered. The photo, which presents with remarkable clarity, displays a few minor abrasions, most notably in the upper left corner, a few of which marginally touch upon the image of Corkhill, and is otherwise in apparent Excellent to Mint condition. The base of the mount displays minor staining. The photo and mount have not been examined out of frame, so exact dimensions of the mount are unknown (the listed size of the photo represents the visible dimensions). Matted and framed to total dimensions of 30 x 27 inches. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $16,590
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