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Extraordinary 1914 Boston Braves "Fan" Panoramic Photograph (51 x 16.5-inches)
Starting Bid - $1,000.00 , Sold For - $1,527.50
To label this panorama one of the most striking baseball photos we have ever seen might seem ironic to some, especially considering the fact that it pictures no ballplayers, but as the piece clearly evinces, images relating to our national pastime are not confined to stadium walls or verdant fields. The focus of this photo is not the game itself, nor the players involved, but the multitude of fans witnessing it. Captured here are the thousands of fans who jammed the streets of Providence, Rhode Island, to watch Game 4 of the 1914 World Series as displayed upon a "player board" in the public square. The white-letter caption along the bottom reads "Watching The Tribune Baseball Board at Tribune Square During The Game Between The Athletics And Braves At Boston, Oct. 13,1914." The photographer's credit, "Photo by F. H. Farley - Prov R. I.," appears in the lower right.
Prior to the advent of radio, the only way in which fans could be kept updated in real time on the progress of the game was by means of a "player board, " which was usually set up in a public place and sponsored by a local newspaper, in this case The Tribune . The boards were of various complexity but all had one purpose: to communicate to the crowds each and every play of the game in as close to real time as possible. All of the action was transmitted by wire to the person working the board, who then posted the result of each pitch. These boards were common in nearly every big city at the time, and they normally drew large crowds, as witnessed here. In this photo, each thoroughfare is lined with fans, all of whom are staring up intently at the board above (not pictured). The turnout for this game is not surprising, as the "Miracle" Braves were poised to shock the world on this day. After rallying from the largest regular-season deficit in history to win the pennant, the Braves made short work of the heavily favored A's in the Series, sweeping them in four games. The game obviously had special meaning in this "pro-Boston" city, as indicated by the impressive turnout.
This amazing relic from a bygone era tells a story which transcends the world of sport, speaking volumes about the development of media and communication in America. In large cities and small towns throughout America, "watching" the World Series on such a scoreboard was as much a ritual as listening to the World Series on the radio soon became, or watching the World Series on television is today. All throughout America, media scoreboards allowed those who could not attend the games to experience the thrill of every pitch, hit, and run. By the early 1930s, radio made these temporary scoreboards obsolete. This is a powerful image. It's hard to look at this photo and not feel a part of the crowd. The days of the media scoreboards are long forgotten, but the story of the significant chapter in baseball history they represent is told by many old photographs of crowds in the streets, but none better than this extraordinary large panoramic display photograph. The photo (47 x 12.75 inches) displays minor water stains along the top, right, and bottom borders which has resulted in a few small areas of surface paper loss due to flaking. This is of no consequence and has no impact on its overwhelming display value. While the photo is technically in Very Good condition, the flaws are relegated to the border areas and do not detract from the large display photo's overall Excellent appearance. The panoramic photograph appears to be housed in its original wood frame, measuring 51 x 16.5 inches. Please Note: Due to the size and/or weight of this lot, shipping costs (depending on where it is sent and its method of shipping) may be substantial. Reserve $1,000. Estimate $2,000+. SOLD FOR $1,527.50
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