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Circa 1911 Dick Hoblitzell Cincinnati Reds Sweater and Related Memorabilia (6 items)
Starting Bid - $5,000, Sold For - $6,463
Rare Cincinnati Reds team sweater, circa 1911, worn by star first baseman Dick Hoblitzell. This sweater, along with all of the other material offered here, originates directly from Dick Hoblitzell's estate and is accompanied by a signed letter of provenance from his daughter. The red wool sweater features the Cincinnati Reds logo appliquéd in felt on the left breast (large "C" with the word "Reds" inside it). The "C" is two-toned, with white on blue felt, while the letters are in solid white. The manufacturer's label, which was applied on the interior right front tail, has been removed, but the stitch outline is still clearly visible. The sweater features a seven-button front. The top button is missing and, counting downward, the second, fourth, and seventh buttons have been replaced. The third button has cracked in half. The sweater is heavily worn and includes numerous tears throughout, including a large 2 x 4-inch hole on the left front. Any and all Major League garments dating from the early 1900s are exceedingly rare, especially outer garments such as sweaters or jackets. Hoblitzell played with the Reds from 1908 through mid season of 1914. While it is impossible to conclusively date this sweater to any one year, MEARS has noted in its accompanying letter that it has estimated its year of origin at 1911 because it is most consistent with the type of sweaters used by Major League clubs between the years 1909 and 1913. As such, it ranks as the earliest Major League sweater listed in the MEARS census. It is also the earliest example we have ever seen. Accompanying the sweater are six items also once belonging to Dick Hoblitzell that are each noteworthy and interesting items on their own and which are ideal for display with the sweater: 1) Red baseball stirrup sock. This solid-color sock was the style worn by the Reds in 1908, 1909, 1912, and 1913. This style was never utilized by the Red Sox during Hoblitzell's time with the club (1914-1918), thereby conclusively dating it to his time with the Reds. Heavily worn, with a few small tears. Together with an individual letter of provenance from Hoblitzell's daughter. 2) Two-page typed letter, dated December 26, 1917, and written on official Boston Braves letterhead, to Mrs. Hoblitzell from Edwin Riley, secretary of the Boston Braves. In his letter, Riley offers both his sympathy and well wishes for Hoblitzell's speedy recovery after reading about his recent illness in the paper. Hoblitzell, who was the Boston Red Sox first baseman at the time, had contracted the dreaded "Spanish Flu," which killed between fifty and 100 million people worldwide. Hoblitzell nearly died himself and even though he recovered, the illness effectively ended his career. The letter (8.5 x 11 inches) displays normal mailing folds and a few light areas of discoloration. Vg. Together with the original mailing envelope (6 x 3.5 inches; Vg, left border torn off upon opening). 3-4) Dick Hoblitzell's wallet and business card. The heavily worn brown leather wallet (4.5 x 3 inches, closed) features the name "R. C. Hoblitzell" in gilt-stamped letters on the interior. Included with the wallet is Hoblitzell's business card, "Richard C. Hoblitzell, D.D.S." (3.75 x 2.25 inches; Ex-Mt). 5) Dick Hoblitzell single-signed baseball. Hoblitzell has signed the red-stitched official National League ball (league president's signature very faint, appears to be a "Frick" ball dating from approximately 1935-1945) in black fountain pen (grading "5") across the sweet spot. The ball is heavily worn with a number of surface marks and/or abrasions that affect the signature. In Good condition overall. 6) Original 1929 press photo capturing Hoblitzell as player/manager of the Charlotte Hornets of the South Atlantic League. Hoblitzell is pictured in action as he fields a ball at first base. After his Major League career ended, Hoblitzell both managed and played, intermittently, in the minors for another nine season. A Charlotte Engraving Co. press stamp, which is dated "3/20/29," appears on the reverse. 6.5 x 9.75 inches. Vg-Ex, with a few creases. Total: 7 items (sweater, sock, letter, wallet, business card, ball, and photo). LOA from Troy Kinunen/MEARS. Reserve $5,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $6,463
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