Tuesday, October 01, 2013

A 1887 Silver Bill Phillips Baseball Card - an Old Time Brooklyn Player

Brockelman & Luckey Auctions recently closed up their most recent auction and it included a card of a vintage Dodger player I thought worth noting.  Check it out above.

It is a 1887 Old Judge Cigarettes card of Brooklyn Grays (a precursor team to the Dodgers) first baseman Silver Bill Phillips.  He is known as the very first Canadian born player to ever play in the Major Leagues and is enshrined in the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.  This card sold at $245.25 a week back.

Why he was called "Silver Bill" I do not know.  I do know, on the other hand, that he is regarded as one of the best defensive first baseman of the 1880's.  He stood 6 feet tall and weighed some 200 lbs.; which at the time was huge.  So, his size was a benefit to his position.  Silver Bill would often look the part of a modern day basketball player to someone like 5' 6" me.

Via a SABR biography by William Akin:
Cleveland's infield of the early Eighties, labeled the "Stonewall Infield," may have been the finest fielding unit of the era. In 1880 Jack Glasscock moved from second base to shortstop, where he became the slickest fielder of his era, and Fred Dunlap took over at second. Charles Faber rates that group the best double play combination of the nineteenth century (Faber, 50). Writing thirty years later, Al Spink remembered them as "perhaps the greatest infield ever known" (Spink, 196). They led the League in double plays in 1882 and fielding average in 1883. Phillips participated in more double plays than any other first baseman during Cleveland's first five years of NL play.
Silver Bill spent three seasons with Brooklyn - from 1885 to 1887.  It was in the New York borough where he would record his best years at the plate.  He batted .278 for the Grays, knocked in 236 runs, scored 215 runs and even stole 29 bases (which is a lot considering how slow he'e been described). 

Unfortunately, after Brooklyn he would soon find himself out of the game.  He was pushed off the team in order to bring up a kid named David Orr, and played his last game with the Hamilton Hams of the International League in 1899.  He would pass away about a decade later due to complications from syphilis.  

To learn more about this former Dodger be sure to check out William Akin's great biography at the SABR biography Project, right here.

Below are Silver Bill Phillips' career stats, via Baseball Reference:

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A Vintage Brooklyn Bum Cookie Jar on Auction

In The Park Collectibles has an auction running right now that has this great vintage 1940's-1950's porcelain cookie jar made by Gibbs-Conner of Cleveland, Ohio.  It features the famous "Brooklyn Bum", and measures 13" tall. 

Gibbs-Conner was a competitor to Stanford Pottery, but closed their doors in the late 1950's.  Sports based porcelain figurines were not their main market; although they did produce for a sale porcelain bank of Cleveland Indian's mascot Chief Wahoo.  I believe this Dodgers cookie jar is one of just a handful of prototypes that they made, but never got around to mass producing.  As evidenced by its high initial asking price ($1,000.00), it is a very scarce collectible.
(Auction Link)

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Blog Kiosk: 10/1/2013 - Dodgers Links - Hairston, Puig, Scully and the Don

Can Terry Crews play centerfield?  Pic via Jon SooHoo/La Dodgers 2013.
  • Jerry HAriston Jr. is suffering through a back issue, via JP Hoornstra at Inside the Dodgers.
  • What their saying in Atlanta - "Favored or not, Braves confident facing Dodgers," via David O'Brien at AJC.com.  The Braves seem to think their the underdog.  Considering the recent injuries to the Dodgers, I don't think this holds true.
“Whether or not we get the publicity we should get, it’s just not important to us. We don’t need someone to tell us that we’re going to win or lose. It’s played on the field.”

"I would say on average, I get here at 3:30, and I work somewhere close to an hour and a half. That gets it to five of five. I have to tape an opening. I have to tape a little thing they put on the board, notes on the game. I'll come in and eat. I'll be finished eating. If my wife isn't at the game, automatically at six o'clock I'll call her to let her know that I'm here and find out what she's going through at home. And then after I make the phone call, I go back to look for any late notes, whatever. I might talk with one or two of the other team's broadcasters, say, 'What's new, who's doing what?' And then, by the time you're ready to go on, you have a head full of stuff."
"Once the game starts, he's still got that player mentality," pitcher Clayton Kershaw said. "He's pretty competitive. You definitely see why he was a successful baseball player."

Mattingly's calm demeanor in the clubhouse makes the players comfortable. His intensity in the dugout is what earns their respect. They feel as if he's protecting them.

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