Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Heritage Auctions: Walter Johnson, the Temple Cup and a Bloody Sock

Every new Baseball season brings about major auction house sales.  As Spring Training is about to begin expect to see some incredible memorabilia for sale soon.  To start off this new season, Heritage Auctions begins with a sale that includes 164 items.  There's a large collection of 1980 Lake Placid Team USA hockey memorabilia, several autographed Babe Ruth balls, and a real Augusta National Masters Green Jacket.  This auction also includes a bloody sock from the 2004 World Series (featured below).  See the entire auction here

The first item I wanted to highlight is the below Hall of Fame Induction Plaque that was presented to Walter Johnson.  This is the real deal.  It was given to him at his induction ceremony in 1939 at Cooperstown.

Here's a little known fact.  Walter Johnson played ball in north Orange County as a teen.  He went to Fullerton Union High School, and once struck out 27 batters in a 15 inning game against Santa Ana High School.  I dream of one day coming across old photos of him while rummaging through a garage sale.
(auction link)

The battle for the Temple Cup was the first Baseball Championship series, and the below print is one of the preeminent 19th century Baseball drawings celebrating it.  I'll let the auction description tell you more.
1894 Temple Cup Print by Hy Sandham. Named for coal, citrus and lumber baron (and Pittsburgh Pirates owner) William Chase Temple, the Temple Cup was an ornately detailed thirty-inch high double-handled silver trophy created in 1894 to be awarded to the victor of a seven-game series between the first and second-place teams of the National League. This first edition of the series would prove to be its most famous and controversial, as a financial scandal cast an ugly pall over the proceedings. After sweeping the first-place Baltimore Orioles in four games, the victorious New York Giants reneged upon the agreement to split revenues 50/50, a move that so disgusted the series' sponsor that Temple quickly sold the Pirates, ending his affiliation with the National League. The series would survive for three more years before fan apathy made further editions a losing financial proposition. The Cup itself was returned to the Temple family, where it languished for decades until it was tracked down by journalists at The Sporting News for display at the famous 1939 New York World's Fair. It was later sold to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum for $750, where it remains to this day.
Just think about it.  Baseball could have had their own version of the Stanley Cup.  Major League clubs could be fighting over who gets to adorn their name on it.  BTW, the photo above is of the Temple Cup, and the print is below.
(auction link)

At the Dodgers FanFest this past weekend, Gary Cypres brought along a bunch of his Baseball memorabilia to share with fans.  A couple of those items included some early 20th century action Baseball tabletop games.  See my photos of them here.  Well, Heritage has for sale another early Baseball tabletop game.  It is a 1915 Edward's Big League Table Baseball Game.  Here is how it works:
"The same rules apply to Edward's Big League Table Baseball as to the out-door game--two or more people play it. The 'pitcher' actually holds the ball, throwing it at the will of the 'fielding player.' The 'batting player' controls the manikin batter, and he can strike or 'pick 'em out,' just as he likes. A little practice enables the 'batter' to place his 'hits' with the accuracy of a big leaguer. The minute a 'fair ball' is hit, the batting player runs a 'man' to first. 'He' can then steal, run bases, back up on fouls, earn runs or get put out, according to the fortunes of the game. The fielders get under the flies; the infield players do the same; it's the real game in miniature. There's nothing in the world like it."
The game has working mechanical parts, with runners able to scamper around the bases.
(auction link)

This, along with Mike Eruzione's 1980 Lake Placid game-worn uniform, have received all the press.  Below is the bloody sock worn by Curt Schilling in Game 2 of the 2004 World Series.  Schillings financial trouble have been well publicized, so it should be a surprise that he has decided to let this one go.  It has been estimated that it would sell in excess of $100,000. 
(auction link)

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