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1909 Frank Chance Banquet Program Signed by Tinker, Evers, and Chance
Starting Bid - $1,000.00 , Sold For - $8,225.00
"These are the saddest of possible words, Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance…" So began Baseball's Sad Lexicon , a poem penned by New York columnist Franklin P. Adams that instantly immortalized Chicago's famed "trio of bear cubs." Despite their fame, and the fact that their names would forever be linked together, few, if any, items signed by all three players are known. Offered here is one such rare, and possibly unique, piece: a 1908 program from a dinner honoring Frank Chance and his World Champion Cubs, signed in pencil along the interior by Tinker, Evers, and Chance. The plain white cover to the program features Chance's monogrammed initials, "FLC," while the title page displays his portrait image and the calligraphic notations "Dinner Tendered to Frank Chance and His Cubs by Admiring Fans - Tip Top Inn, Chicago, October 16, 1908." The four pages of the program provides the menu and schedule for the evening. In addition to Tinker, Evers, and Chance, the program has also been signed in pencil by fifty other attendees including Mordecai Brown, Orval Overall, Ed Reulbach, Kenesaw Mountain Landis (prior to his becoming Commissioner of Baseball), Pat Moran, Chic Fraser, Charles Weegham (later owner of the Cubs), Jack Pfiester, and Johnny Kling. Its rarity notwithstanding, this piece is all the more extraordinary due to the manner in which Merkle has signed his name: "Johnny �Merkle' Evers." Fred Merkle's famous "boner" on the base path in a crucial game between the Giants and the Cubs, a mistake which was brought to the attention of the umpires by Evers, basically resulted in the Cubs winning the pennant that year. This was easily the most sensational play of the early twentieth-century, and perhaps in all of post-1900 baseball. It is obvious from the unique manner in which Evers signed his name at this event that Merkle's "boner" was still a very hot topic that fall. Probably so few items were signed by Tinker, Evers, and Chance for two reasons: First and foremost is the fact that Frank Chance passed away prematurely in 1924. The second reason is that Tinker and Evers had a long-standing feud that began during their playing days and carried over into retirement. Even during their years together with the Cubs, the two hardly ever spoke to each other unless absolutely necessary. Thus, they were very rarely seen together off the field. This is the only item we have ever encountered signed by the three. The program itself is also a great rarity that would be a substantial prize signed or unsigned. We have never seen another example. Only those attending would have received one. All of the signatures in the program are fairly uniform and grade "9" overall. The banquet program (7 x 8 inches) is complete with its original red silk string tie, which binds the four pages of the program together, and is in Excellent condition. Accompanying the program is a portion of a scrapbook cover that has attached to it a typed sheet with the caption "Arrangement of seats for speakers' table" and lists thirty-nine attendees. This appears to be the original seating chart from the banquet. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $1,000. Estimate $2,000/$3,000. SOLD FOR $8,225.00
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