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1896 "Harry Wright Day" Program
Starting Bid - $200.00, Sold For - $587.50
In 1895 the entire baseball world mourned the passing of Harry Wright. The deep sorrow felt by all was eloquently expressed at the time by Henry Chadwick, who later commented, "No death among the professional fraternity has occurred which elicited such painful regret....[Harry Wright was] the most widely known, best respected, and most popular of the exponents and representatives of professional baseball, of which he was virtually the founder." To honor his memory the National League commissioned a memorial statue that would later be placed upon his grave site. In order to raise the necessary funds for that project the League declared May 13, 1896, to be "Harry Wright Day." On that date many local towns and leagues held various benefit events, with all of the proceeds to be donated to the "Harry Wright Memorial Fund." Offered here is an exceedingly rare Harry Wright Day invitation/program from the benefit held in Rockford, Illinois. The cover of the four-page invitation (5 x 6.5 inches) features a portrait image of Harry Wright set within an embossed crossed-bat motif. "Harry Wright Day - Monday April 13, 1896" is lettered in the upper left corner. The first page of the invitation reads, "The Forest City Base Ball Club of the Sixties, and the friends of the City of Rockford, Illinois, invite you to be present at a game on Harry Wright Day, Monday, April 13, 1896." That game, which was played between former members of the original Forest City ball club, included a number of well-known participants, all of whom are listed on the interior pages. Most notable among them are A. G. Spalding, former star pitcher and sporting-goods magnate, and Ross Barnes, the National League's first batting champion. The invitation also list the names of the many individuals who worked on the various local benefit committees. This is an extremely rare invitation/program dating from that historic day, one of only two examples we have ever seen. The invitation (5 x 6.5 inches) displays some very minor splitting along the spine and a few extremely light areas of foxing on the cover. These condition flaws are insignificant and do not in the least detract from its overall Excellent to Mint appearance. This is an exceptional memento honoring the memory of one of the game's true founding fathers. Reserve $200. Estimate $400/$800. SOLD FOR $587.50
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