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1890 Brooklyn Players' League Cabinet with John Ward
Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $5,333
Extremely rare and striking team cabinet card featuring portraits of the Brooklyn Players’ League team from 1890. The Players’ League was organized in 1890 by a number of rebellious Major League ballplayers who were at odds with ownership over the reserve clause (a contract stipulation which effectively bound a player to a team for life). The leader of the movement to form the new league was John Montgomery Ward, one of the top players of his day and president of The Brotherhood of Professional Base Ball Players. Brooklyn's entry in the Players' League was even nicknamed "Ward's Wonders" in his honor. Although a number of top players joined the Brotherhood, many of the clubs lost their financial backing at season’s end and the Players’ League folded shortly thereafter. Cabinet cards of teams from the historically significant but short-lived Players’ League are practically nonexistent. This composite team card features portraits of eighteen team members in uniform, with each player identified above his picture. Ward is pictured in the center of the composite. Beneath the portraits, the team is identified by the caption “Brooklyn Players’ League” at the bottom of the mount. The cabinet is in exceptional condition with strong photo contrast (a little light on some of the names) and minimal wear to the corners and borders. Clean blank reverse. Encapsulated as “Authentic” by SGC with an impressive Excellent appearance. An exceptionally attractive, rare, and very significant nineteenth-century Players’ League team cabinet. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $5,333
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