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1884 Providence vs. Boston National League Scorecard - Charlie Sweeney’s Record 19 Strikeout Game
Starting Bid - $300, Sold For - $1,528
Extremely rare National League scorecard from a June 7, 1884, game between Providence and Boston, held at Boston's South End Grounds, in which Providence pitcher Charlie Sweeney struck out a record nineteen Boston batters. The style of this scorecard is extremely rare and this alone makes this it special, but the fact that it is for a game of such great historical significance makes it an all-the-greater prize. The fold-over score card features an engraving of Boston manager "Honest John" Morrill on the front, while the preprinted lineups list Charlie Sweeney (as pitcher) and Hoss Radbourne (at first base) for Providence and John Morrill, Ezra Sutton, and Jim Whitney for Boston. The card has been neatly scored in pencil and the vintage pencil notation "June 7th, 1884" appears along the top border of the interior section and on the reverse. Providence pitcher Charley Sweeney struck out nineteen Boston batters in Providence's 2-1 win that day to set a Major League record (for a nine-innning game) that stood for an incredible 102 years before being broken by Roger Clemens in 1982 (twenty strikeouts). All of those record nineteen strikeouts are duly noted on the card. An account of the game, published in the June 8, 1884, edition of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat (a copy of which accompanies the program), makes note that "Sweeney broke the pitching record to-day, striking out no less than nineteen men by his puzzling delivery. Every man of the Boston nine but Sutton struck out and all but Sutton and Morrill struck out at least twice. Wise went down three times and Burdock four times by Sweeney's mystic curves." Sweeney went on to win seventeen games for the eventual National League and World Series Champion Providence Grays before being expelled from the team for leaving the field in the middle of a game. After his dismissal, he promptly signed with St. Louis of the Union Association, where he won another twenty-four games. Sweeney only played another three seasons of professional ball before retiring. Unfortunately, his life took a tragic turn in 1894 when he killed a man in a San Francisco saloon. Sentenced to prison for murder, he died there eight years later at the age of thirty-nine. The scorecard (11.75 x 7.25 inches, unfolded) displays a heavy vertical fold, minor creases, and a slight separation along the base of the spine. In Very Good condition overall. Reserve $300. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $1,528
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