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Classic 1912 "Smokey Joe" Wood vs. Walter Johnson Original Photo
Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $2,644
This spectacular photo, taken on September 6, 1912, at Fenway Park, pictures "Smokey Joe" Wood of the Boston Red Sox as he warms up prior to one of the most heralded pitching duels in baseball history. The excitement and anticipation of the fans that day stemmed from the fact that Wood was squaring off against none other than Washington's legendary mound ace, "The Big Train," Walter Johnson. Aside from the fact that Wood and Johnson were the hardest throwers in baseball at the time, the game had tremendous additional significance in that Wood was attempting to break Johnson's record of sixteen consecutive wins (since broken), a mark set earlier in the season. Woods entered this game with thirteen consecutive wins and the drama of the pitching duel itself, combined with the fact that Johnson was being given the opportunity to personally defend his record, resulted in the scene pictured here. In this photo, Wood is practically engulfed by a throng of fans as he warms up prior to the game, with the free space making way for the path of his blazing fastball. The Boston faithful certainly received their money's worth that day, as Wood blanked Johnson and the Senators by a score of 1-0. Wood eventually tied Johnson's record of sixteen consecutive wins before losing to the Tigers on September 20. For the season, Wood finished with League highs in both wins (34) and shutouts (10) while recording 258 strikeouts and a 1.91 ERA. While those numbers are certainly extraordinary, his mark for both strikeouts and ERA were topped by another pitcher that summer: Walter Johnson. In addition to its historic significance and the exceptional visual appeal of the image, this photograph is all the more desirable in that it once belonged to Joe Wood and was long ago purchased directly from Joe Wood's son. The fact that it was kept by the former mound ace his entire life is testimony to the significance it held for him. The photo (10 x 8 inches) has some very light creasing and corner wear. On the reverse is black scrapbook paper from having once been mounted in Joe Wood's personal scrapbook album and then removed. (This paper could almost certainly be removed by a professional if desired. There is no paper loss.) The photograph has only the most minor imperfections, visible only upon close inspection, and has an overall Excellent appearance with flawless clarity. Few baseball photographs of any type capture so much detail in a single image. This is a magnificent dead-ball photo in all respects and one that is quite famous as well, having been reproduced in many books and periodicals over the years, including Lawrence Ritter's The Glory of Their Times . This very photograph appeared in REA's May 2006 auction (as Lot 978 and selling for $8,700) and has been consigned to this auction directly by the original purchaser. Accompanied by a LOA from PSA/DNA identifying it as a "Type 1 - 1st Generation" photo. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $2,644
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