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Lot # 1081 (of 1866)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1865 Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper Woodcut with Jim Creighton

Starting Bid - $200, Sold For - $1,185

On November 4, 1865, Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper featured this remarkable two-page woodcut illustration depicting both a game-in-progress scene and images of the top players from all of the local New York teams. What distinguishes this piece today, however, is its prominent depiction of James Creighton. Creighton, who passed away tragically on the field of play at the age of twenty-one in 1862, is pictured within a black shroud as he looks down upon the game below. This is one of just a few contemporary baseball pieces known that feature a likeness of Creighton, making it both a rare and highly significant nineteenth-century display piece. Creighton, who is believed to be the first professional player, albeit "under the table," was the greatest player of his era and the man who revolutionized the art of pitching. The fact that three years after his death he was still so highly regarded in the sport that his image would be featured here among the other stars of the day is fitting testimony to his legendary status. The caption along the base of the woodcut reads "Great Base Ball Match Between the Atlantic and Eckford Clubs of Brooklyn at the Union Base Ball Grounds, Brooklyn, E. D., Oct. 13, with Portraits of the Leading Players of the Principal Clubs of New York, Brooklyn, and Newark." All of the other players pictured are identified by name, including Mort Rogers, who most hobbyists recognize as the producer of a series of attractive photographic scorecards a few years later. The one individual not identified here, pictured on the far right above various daily newspapers, is believed by most historians today to be Henry Chadwick, "The Father of Baseball." The paper (21 x 15.25 inches) displays light wear, including two small, light water stains along the left border and a few tiny tears along the vertical center fold. In Very Good condition overall. Extremely rare for such a woodcut (remarkably, only the second we have offered in a decade) and universally regarded as the premier nineteenth-century baseball woodcut. Matted and framed to total dimensions of 23 x 17.25 inches. Reserve $200. Estimate $400+. SOLD FOR $1,185


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