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1892 Columbus BBC Cabinet Card with Hank O'Day
Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $1,659
Magnificent team cabinet card featuring thirteen members of the 1892 Columbus Reds, champions of the Western League. Graded VG 40 by SGC. This is one of the most attractive team cabinets we have ever seen. In addition to the photographic composite, which features crystal-clear images of each player, the card has been adorned with beautiful baseball illustrations, including a generic batter in uniform, an official American Association baseball, and various equipment. Each formally attired team member is captured in a bust-length image and has been identified in print below his respective portrait. The players represented here are Gus Smeltz (manager), Hank O'Day (pitcher), Joe Walsh (shortstop), Count Campau (captain and left field), Charlie Abbey (center field), Tim O'Rourke (third base), Fritz Clausen (pitcher), Ben Stephens (spelled "Stevens" on the card; pitcher), Duke Jantzen (catcher), Bill Merritt (catcher), Dan Lally (right field), Bill McClellan (second base), and Edward Breckenridge (first base). The card is lettered "Season of 92'/Columbus Base Ball Club" within the design of the team composite at top. The photographer's credit ("Baker") appears both in the composite and on the base of the mount. The reverse features a large and more elaborate advertisement for "Bakers Art Gallery," located in Columbus, Ohio. While it must be noted that no less than ten of the men pictured here played in the Major Leagues at one time (only Smeltz, Jantzen, and Breckenridge failed to make the grade), it is Hank O'Day that holds the greatest interest for historians today. O'Day had a career record of 73-110 during his seven years in the majors, but he did enjoy a measure of success. O'Day posted a 9-1 record with the Giants in 1889, plus two more wins in the club's World Series triumph over Brooklyn that fall. The following year he won twenty-two games for New York's entry in the Players League. Despite those achievements, O'Day is best remembered today for his central role in what is perhaps the most memorable and controversial play in baseball history: Merkle's Boner. O'Day was the home-plate umpire that ruled New York Giants first baseman Fred Merkle out on a force play in a game against the Cubs in 1909 after Merkle had failed to touch second base following an apparent two-out ninth-inning game-winning hit by Al Bridwell. That decision, which resulted in a tie instead of a Giants victory, eventually cost the Giants the pennant because the two clubs finished in a tie for first at the end of the season. The Cubs then defeated the Giants in a replay of the game. O'Day, who became a full-time major league umpire in 1894, posted an 8-7 record with Columbus in 1892, helping the club to a first-place finish in the first half of the season. Columbus was at the top of the standings after eight games in the second half as well before the league abruptly folded. This is the only 1892 Columbus team cabinet we have ever seen and may very well represent the only example extant commemorating that triumphant, albeit truncated, championship season. The card (4.25 x 6.5 inches) displays minor corner wear, as well as light spotting along the base of the mount, both of which are probably responsible for its low technical grade. The photographic portion of the card is free of any major flaws and presents an Excellent to Mint overall appearance. This is an exceptionally attractive team cabinet that would be a welcome addition to any advanced nineteenth-century baseball collection. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $1,659
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