Friday, September 09, 2011

The Cholera Nine

This is probably one of the more morbid Baseball related collectibles in existence. It is also incredibly awesome.

This is a late 19th century Victorian Trade Card, likely dating to the mid to late 1880's. It was produced by Indianapolis printer Wm. B. Buford Lithography for Dr. Joseph Haas, V.S.- a producer of veterinarian medicines.
If you're not familiar with this genre of collecting here is a brief primer. Trade Cards originally started in the late 1870's and thrived throughout the rest of that century. It became one of America's early fads and collecting crazes. They started out as business/ advertising cards given away to customers. As designs became more ornate customers started collecting them to put into scrapbooks. This started the age of scrapbooking in America. Flowers, landscapes, babies, children playing are the most common themes. Less common are politicians, buildings, Black Americana and sporting activities; including Baseball.
Anyway, the above card features the Haas Baseball team comprising of hogs defeating the Cholera Nine. Obviously, they are equating his medicine as being a cure-all to this deadly disease. I wondered, though, pigs can get cholera? Apparently so.

This card is very rare and never pops up for auction anywhere. It has an opening bid of $150.00 at The Trade Card Place so it certainly will not come cheap. On an aside, I had wanted to keep this auction house to myself since it has provided me a wealth of opportunities to get some great rare stuff with little competition, but with this card coming up I just couldn't resist sharing it. Besides, it is priced a bit out of my price range at the moment.

The Frankenstein and Lobster Game

With the season winding down and the Dodgers far from contention in the National League West there isn't much left to do but enjoy the rest of summer. Other then the Kemp's 40/40 attempt or Kershaw's potential 20 win season it's hard to get excited about the rest of the season. Fortunately, Ron Shafer who wrote "When the Dodgers Were Bridegrooms" keeps things interesting by recounting, day by day, the 1889 pennant race.

The Frankenstein and Lobster Game

Yesterday was the anniversary of one of the most unusual games in Dodgers history. Over 120 years ago the Dodgers were battling it out with the St. Louis Browns for the pennant. Fan excitement was at an all time high as these two teams went head to head in Washington Park, home of the Brooklyn Bridegrooms (yes, the Dodgers were once called this).

In what can only be called bizarre, the Brooklyn Bridegrooms pulled out a victory only when St. Louis forfeited the game when they pulled their team from the field in the midst of gamesmanship, controversy and a near fan riot. Check out Ron's website to read all about it here.
Angry Brooklyn fans pelted the Browns with beer bottles and other objects as the players left the field, and St. Louis right fielder Tommy McCarthy got into an altercation with one fan on his way to the safety of the dressing room. Sporting Life writer J. Donnelly, quickly dubbed the strange contest “the Frankenstein and Lobster Game.”

Even stranger, the very next day the Browns refused to show up for a rematch. No doubt, fearing for their lives.

For the fans interested in the often forgotten history of an ancient Dodger team I highly recommend Ron's site and his book "When the Dodgers Were Bridegrooms." Check out my interview with him, here, about his historical account of this team.

(Pic Link: Full Count Vintage Baseball Card Forum)

Daily Conlon: 289 through 297

Here are todays Daily Conlon cards numbered 289 through 297, and it features the butt of all jokes, Shanty Hogan- center row, far right. Click on any pic to embiggen.

As Bill James once noted, he is probably the subject of more anecdotes than any other balllpayer, save Babe Herman.
"All of these anecdotes center on how much he ate, or how much he liked to eat, or how fat he was, or some closely related topic. Pick up any old Baseball book at random, and you will probably find an anecdote about Hogan eating something."
Needless to say, Shanty was a big man with an appetite to match. One often told story had to do with his dealings with his coach John McGraw. McGraw, always in need of controlling his players habits, tried to slim down his slugging catcher by checking his nightly hotel dinner checks. He wanted to make sure that Shanty was sticking to his diet. Shanty, being as sly as he was hungry, developed a system with the help of the hotel kitchen to substitute any dietary item with something more to his liking. As teammate Andy Cohen said,
"He'd write down spinach, but that meant potatoes. He had a whole code of his own."