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Lot # 1135 (of 1560)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1954 Willie Mays Original World Series Photograph - "The Catch" - Bleacher View!

Starting Bid - $400, Sold For - $4,700

This exceedingly rare original news photo not only captures what is arguably the greatest play in World Series history but offers viewers an entirely different perspective of Willie Mays' dramatic over-the-shoulder catch in Game 1 of the 1954 World Series. Taken by a United Press photographer, the stunning photograph captures the moment as seen from the outfield bleachers, with Mays pictured facing the camera as he raises his glove up, just seconds before "the catch." Occasionally, important moments in history are captured and represented in popular culture by only a single image. A second perspective is often not possible, but this photo provides a unique alternate image of one of baseball's greatest moments. This is the first original print of this photo we have ever seen and few collectors are probably even aware of its existence. While logic dictates that numerous photos of this play exist or at least once existed (it was a World Series game attended by hundreds of cameramen) all of those "other" photos were soon made irrelevant after the publication of the more famous, well-known image of Mays running from behind. We do not know how many original prints exist of this particular photo, but the number is certainly very low, as we have never seen another. The photo displays a United Press Associations stamp on the reverse and is accompanied by its original news caption that reads "New York: This is a bleacher view of Giant Willie Mays' game-saving eighth-inning catch of Cleveland's Vic Wertz' 450-foot drive to right center field at the Polo Grounds September 29th during the first game of the 1954 World Series. With the score tied 2-2 and none out, Mays ran to the wall with his back to the plate and caught the ball over his head. The Giants won the opener 5-2." The photo (9 x 7 inches) displays a tiny edge tear along the top border, a small corner chip in the lower left, and a few light creases (many of which can only be seen when observed at different angles). In Very Good to Excellent condition. Reserve $400. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $4,700

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