Friday, March 27, 2015

A Vintage Dodger and a Negro League Great Found at Love of the Game Auctions

I thought I would share a couple of cool items I ran into when I checked out the current offerings from "Love of the Game" auctions; including an old-tyme Dodger player and a fantastic postcard photo of one of the early great Cuban ballplayers.

Short and stout with a mustache that would make todays hipsters green with envy, Jim McTamany played three years for the Brooklyn Grays (this is the Dodgers, as they were once known) in the mid to late 1880's.  Born a Philadelphia kid, he was known for his defensive prowess in centerfield and soon became well regarded for his ability to get on-base.  Unfortunately, that later skill didn't come until after he played in Brooklyn. 

McTamany recorded over 100 walks for three straight seasons, and lead the league in runs scored and walks in 1890 as a member of the Columbus Solons of the American Association.  Soon thereafter, though, he disappeared from Major League parks.  His batting average quickly eroded til he finally left the game in 1894 at the age of 30. 

Featured above is a 1887 Old Judge N172 tobacco card of McTamany as a member of the Brooklyn Grays.  It is currently on auction at Love of the Game Auctions.  Check it out here.


The real photo postcard below is just fantastic.  It features Baseball Hall of Famer and Cuban great Jose Mendez in his Sunday best.  Check out the auction here.  I'll let the auction description tell you a little bit about who he was.
El Diamante Negro ("the Black Diamond") is a legend in his home country of Cuba, one of the players inducted into the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame's inaugural class in 1939.  Mendez rose to worldwide fame after throwing 25 consecutive shutout innings in three appearances against the Cincinnati Reds, including a one-hit complete game shutout.  Soon after, he pitched two more shutouts, racking up 43 consecutive scoreless innings.

An arm injury in 1914 caused Mendez to move to shortstop, where he played with the Detroit Stars and Chicago American Giants of the Negro Leagues, ultimately landing with the Kansas City Monarchs as player/manager, winning three consecutive pennants between 1923-25.  In the first Negro League World Series in 1924 against the Hilldale team, he appeared in four games, posting a 2-0 record including a shutout victory in the final game. 

No less a baseball mind than John McGraw called Mendez "sort of Walter Johnson and Grover Alexander rolled into one."
(Auction Link)

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