Monday, July 30, 2012

Legendary Auctions: Some Vintage Baseball Memorabilia

Legendary Auctions is running a small auction.  There are only 63 items to look at, but don't mistake that for a lack of quality.  Following up on my post from Friday featuring a game-used cap once worn by Don Drysdale, here are several other memorabilia items I thought were worth noting.

Below is the Babe Ruth Crown that was presented to Jose Canseco in 1988.  This award is given out by the Maryland Professional Baseball Players Association (MPBPA) based upon a point system from that seasons stats: 4 points for most home runs, 3 for most RBI, 2 for most total bases and 1 for best batting average.  Stamped along its ring are the following words:
"1988 All-Star Game - Sporting News All Star Team - A.B 610 - Runs 120 - Hits 187 - H.R. 42 - Total Bases 347 - S.B. 40 - R.B.I. 124 - B.A. .307 - 1988 - A.P. Male Athlete of the Year - American League M.V.P. - A.P. All Star Team."
Hilariously, Canseco didn't even show up to the awards banquet to receive this award. 
Canseco's failure to appear at the 1988 Tops in Sports Banquet—which he initially attributed to not having a tuxedo and later to his wife being ill—marked the first no-show in the Babe Ruth Crown's then-24-year history.
(Auction Link)

Below is a 1897 bat attributed to Hall of Famer Cap Anson.  Furthermore, this bat was displayed at "Nuf Ced" McGreevey's Third Base Saloon in Boston- considered the very first American sports bar.
A place where heated debates were settled by the owner's stock phrase "Nuf Ced!" and where every wall was decorated to the nines (literally!) with museum-worthy baseball photos and memorabilia. Most famously, the dangling light fixtures were composed of glowing orbs mounted on the game-used bats of saloon patrons such as Cy Young, Nap Lajoie, Hugh Duffy, King Kelly and, finally, the venerable 45-year-old retiree Anson.
McGreevey was the leader of the Royal Rooters fan club (predecessor to Red Sox Nation). Via Wikipedia:
On game days the Royal Rooters marched in procession from the 3rd Base Saloon to the Huntington Avenue Grounds, which was the team’s home field before Fenway Park opened in 1912. The Rooters had a reserved section of seats along the third base line, close enough to the field to intimidate or distract opposing players with their insults and vicious taunts. 
(Auction Link)

The below bat is the "pattern bat" that marks the very first professional player endorsement.  That's right, this bat started it all.
On September 1, 1905, Wagner famously signed a contract with esteemed bat-maker Hillerich & Bradsby that allowed his autograph to be branded on their Louisville Sluggers. It was the Big Bang moment, the genesis, of all sports endorsement deals to come—from the early crop of Cobb, Ruth, DiMaggio and Mantle, to the bling generation of Jordan, Woods, Armstrong, Beckham and LeBron.
Honus Wagner was one of the most recognizable athletes of the time and he was the first player paid for his endorsement.
(Auction Link)

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