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1897 Boston Beaneaters National League Champions Imperial Team Photograph
Starting Bid - $1,000.00 , Sold For - $2,643.75
Original, large-format studio photograph capturing the 1897 National League Champion Boston Beaneaters in a classic team pose. Seventeen team members are pictured here, including manager Frank Selee, who is nattily attired in a suit, Hugh Duffy, Kid Nichols, Billy Hamilton, Jimmy Collins, Bobby Lowe, Fred Tenney, Marty Bergen, Chick Stahl, Herman Long, Ted Lewis, and Jack Stivetts. The copyright notice, "Boston Base Ball Club - Copyright by F. G. Selee & F. O. Woodruff - 97," appears in white lettering along the lower right border. The photo (13.25 x 10 inches) is affixed to its original cardboard mount that is lettered in black fountain pen along both the top and bottom borders. Printed in grand calligraphic style, the top notation reads "National League Champions of 1897," while the bottom border is lettered "Boston Base Ball Club 1897." Ideally, each player (along with his position) has been identified in black ink directly upon his respective image (faded but clearly legible) and again along the base of the mount. The reverse of the mount features the proprietary stamp of noted Boston photographer Elmer Chickering. Sometime later (but obviously decades ago) a thin cardboard matting was placed over the photo which is lettered "Boston Champions 1897" along the top and lists each player by name along the base. The Boston Beaneaters narrowly defeated the Baltimore Orioles by two games to capture the National League pennant in 1897. Unfortunately, the Orioles had their revenge in the postseason by defeating the Beaneaters four games to one in what would be the final Temple Cub Series in history. In addition to boasting three future Hall of Famers (Hamilton, Nichols, and Collins) and a number of star players (Bobby Lowe was the first player to hit four home runs in one game), the 1897 Beaneaters roster also included one of baseball's most infamous players in Marty Bergen. Described as displaying "fits of melancholy" and possessing a peculiar personality, Bergen's darker side was finally revealed three year later when, on January 19, 1900, he killed his wife and two children with an axe and then later took his own life by slitting his throat with a straight razor. Imperial team photographs from the 1880s, of course, are extremely rare, but those dating from the 1890s are even scarcer, almost to the point of being nonexistent. We do not recall ever offering another example of this rare large display team photograph. The mount has heavy staining, mainly along the top, right, and bottom borders, with a few of the stains touching upon the photograph. The mount displays a five-inch vertical tear along the bottom border (repaired on the reverse with clear tape) that extends two inches into the photo (no paper loss). The matting is also affected by a number of stains along the border areas. Despite the flaws, neither the stains nor the tear (which is very unobtrusive) significantly affect any of the player images and the photo itself presents as Excellent. Reserve $1,000. Estimate $2,000/$3,000+. SOLD FOR $2,643.75
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