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Lot # 979 (of 1336)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1888 Theater Program Featuring Mike "King" Kelly!

Starting Bid - $200, Sold For - $360

Exceedingly rare theater program featuring Mike "King" Kelly listed as a cast member in the December 31, 1888, production of Tin Soldier, written by noted playwright Charles Hoyt, at the 14th St. Theatre in New York City. While most fans, historians, and collectors are well aware of Kelly's on-field exploits, today few realize that he was also one of the first major league players to appear on stage as a performer, leveraging his great popularity. Kelly had a love of the theater, so it was no surprise that he gravitated to the stage during the off-season. Kelly's first professional appearance on stage was in an earlier 1888 production of A Rag Baby, also written by Hoyt. Because Hoyt was a huge baseball fan, as well as a friend of Kelly's (they belonged to the same Elks Lodge in Boston), he took delight in giving Kelly small roles in his plays. It was not strictly charity work either. Kelly had a flair for the dramatic, and his immense popularity helped ensure a full house each evening. (Hoyt, a few years later, also provided Cap Anson with a starring role in his play A Runaway Colt.) This is the first theater program we have ever seen featuring Mike Kelly listed as a performer, making it both an extremely rare and unusual piece of memorabilia relating to the legendary Hall of Famer. Although Kelly's role in Tin Soldier is a minor one (he is listed as "Rob Graves, a business man"), his name is one of only two in the program printed in boldface, reflecting his celebrity status. The twelve-page program (7 x 9 inches) displays a number of minor edge tears, nearly all of which have been repaired with small pieces of vintage tape. The program appears to be missing its final few pages, as well as the back cover, with the last two pages attached to each other by tape. In Good condition overall. Ideally, three ticket stubs(1.5 x 1.5; Vg) to the performance accompany the program, all of which have been stapled together at the top of the interior page listing the cast members.   Reserve $200. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $360

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