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1924 Walter Johnson and Lou Gehrig Barnstorming Team Photograph
Starting Bid - $500, Sold For - $2,700
Remarkable and extremely rare 1924 barnstorming tour photo capturing Walter Johnson, an extremely young Lou Gehrig at the dawn of his career, and a number of other major league stars posing together with their local rivals on October 13th in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. The black fountain-pen notation written along the base reads "Hazleton Base Ball Club/vs./Walter Johnson's All Stars October-13-1924." What makes this photo so extraordinary is that the twenty-one-year-old Gehrig was still a relative unknown at the time, having only appeared in thirteen games with the Yankees in 1923 and just ten games in 1924! However, his inclusion on the roster of Walter Johnson's All Stars indicates that even in that very brief period of time preceding stardom (or even a full-time spot in the lineup!) he had already made a lasting impression on the seasoned veterans he was joining. Incredibly, the tour took place immediately after Johnson and the Senators won the World Series on October 10th, with the first game taking place in Rochester, New York, the next day, October 11th. This tour, and the players who took part in it, is documented in Henry Thomas' definitive biography, Walter Johnson Baseball's Big Train (Phenom Press, Washington, D. C., 1995). According to Thomas, the tour was organized by Al Schacht and also included fellow Washington teammates George Mogridge, Joe Judge, and Nick Altrock, as well as five other American League players: Lou Gehrig (Yankees), Joe Bush (Yankees), Charlie Jamieson (Indians), Howard Ehmke (Red Sox), and Steve O'Neill (Red Sox). All of those players are pictured here posing together with their Hazleton rivals in front of the grandstand prior to the game. All but one of the players has been identified in black ink below his image; however, a number of the major league players are misidentified, including Gehrig (who is identified as "Leo Malone"). The game in Hazleton was the third game of the tour, and the last for Johnson, who returned to Washington immediately afterwards. (It is not mentioned in Thomas' book if the tour continued without Johnson.) This is one of only a few examples of this photo that we have seen and the first we have ever offered. The photo (9.756 x 7.75 inches), which displays exceptional clarity, has a tiny chip along the top border and is otherwise in Near Mint condition. It has been mounted onto a cardboard backing that is stamped "Brandau Studios/Hazleton, PA." Matted and framed to total dimensions of 18.25 x 16.75 inches. Disclosure per section 13 of REA's terms and conditions: This lot has been consigned from the personal collection of an executive or employee of Robert Edward Auctions (or a relative of an executive or employee). Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000++. SOLD FOR $2,700
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