Monday, April 06, 2015

Some Brooklyn Dodger Rarities Available at REA

One of the more anticipated sports memorabilia auctions in the hobby just opened up, and there are some fantastic Dodger related collectibles up for sale.  Over the next few days I'll share some of my favorites from the REA Spring Auction.  You can check out the entire REA catalog here.

I thought I start by taking a look at some notable Brooklyn Dodger memorabilia.  Featured below is a circa 1950's Brooklyn Dodgers usher's cap dating from Ebbets Field. According to the consignor, it was found in a secondhand store in Brooklyn in the 1970's.
(Auction Link)

I first spoke about this next item back in January.  Featured below is the Brooklyn Dodgers official ledger (penned by Charles Ebbets) showing the teams day-to-day financial operations from April 1899 to December 1900. That's right.  This tattered book tells us everything about how they funded and operating the franchise during its more formative years.

According to the owner, it was originally retrieved from the trash as works crews began tearing down Ebbets Field after the Dodgers left for Los Angeles for the 1959 season.  I can only imagine what other items might have been discarded at that time.
(Auction Link)

Hidden these pages are player salaries, gate receipts and even the mundane cost of mowing the grass.  Via the auction description:
This book is a treasure trove of financial information. All incoming and outgoing funds of the club are recorded. Included are the exact attendance records for Brooklyn's games, with gate receipts broken down by seat prices. Also recorded are all of the concession sales, including peanuts, refreshments, and scorecards. Included on the expenditure side are both player and employee salaries (team owner Charles Ebbets' salary is also recorded numerous times, including in his own hand), as well as the cost for general repair and maintenance of Washington Park, equipment (balls, bats, uniforms, etc.), team stationery, newspaper advertising, a subscription to the Sporting News, and, of course, peanuts (150 pounds of peanuts cost $7.75 in 1900). Players on this powerhouse team include stars such as Hughie Jennings, Joe Kelley, Joe McGinnity, and Willie Keeler, as well as manager Ned Hanlon (all future Hall of Famers). With that remarkable roster of talent, Brooklyn captured the pennant in both 1899 and 1900. Each of the future Hall of Fame players is listed numerous times in the ledger with regard to salary payments and special compensation. The ledger also records the payment of fines to the National League levied against Kelley, Keeler, and Bill Dahlen in 1899; bonuses to McGraw and Wilbert Robinson in 1900; etc. In short, virtually all financial information relating to the business of the Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1899 and 1900, this volume was Charles Ebbets' single most important record of the club's finances.

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