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Circa 1897 "Wee" Willie Keeler Cabinet Card
Starting Bid - $500.00, Sold For - $6,462.50
Spectacular studio cabinet picturing Hall of Fame outfielder “Wee” Willie Keeler as a member of the Baltimore Orioles, circa 1897. Produced by the Betz Studio of Baltimore, Maryland, as stamped along the base of the mount. This is a very rare and striking Keeler cabinet that we have not seen previously. Keeler, whose career spanned the years 1892 through 1910, was one of the game’s greatest hitters. He was also one of the smallest men ever to play in the Major Leagues. Standing only 5-foot-4 and fleet afoot, he was well suited to the “dead ball” era style of play. Keeler used the smallest bat in Major League history (30 inches, 29 ounces) and he often choked up half way. That bat control allowed him to practice his famous hitting theory of “hit em where they aint.” If the infielders were playing deep he would bunt, if they moved in, he would peck the ball over their heads. Keeler led the league in hits on three separate occasions and won consecutive batting titles in 1897 (.424) and 1898 (.385). During his five years with Ned Hanlon’s legendary Baltimore Orioles (1894-98), Keeler never once batted less than .371 nor failed to amass over 200 hits. Not surprisingly the Orioles won three pennants and two World Championships during that time. Despite a number of major rule changes made at the turn of the century that disadvantaged hitters, Keeler continued to post impressive numbers during the “modern era.” He finished his career in 1910 with a .341 lifetime average, a mark that ranks twelfth best all-time. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1939. The photo displays flawless clarity and contrast, and is in Excellent condition. The dark green mount (5 x 7.25 inches) displays light border wear and adhesive residue on the reverse from having once been framed or mounted in an album. Period ink notations (reading "William Keeler, champion batter of the National League, 1897 and 1898") also appear on the reverse. From the Barry Halper Collection. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000/$2,000. SOLD FOR $6,462.50
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