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1895 Baltimore Orioles Temple Cup Program (vs. Cleveland)
Starting Bid - $2,000, Sold For - $8,813
Extraordinarily rare and significant program from the 1895 Temple Cup championship series between the Baltimore Orioles and Cleveland Spiders held at Union Park in Baltimore. From 1894 to 1897, a time during which there was only one Major League, the Temple Cup was presented to the winner of the postseason series played between the first and second place teams of the National League. The Temple Cup series was the immediate predecessor to our modern-day World Series. Very little has survived relating to the series, and only a few programs are known from each year. This 1895 Temple Cup program is very substantial, and was obviously meant to be a special keepsake to be prized and saved. The simple cover design of this twenty-two page program, which reads in part "Souvenir - Baltimore Base-Ball Players - For The Temple Cup Series," is deceptive in that it offers no hint of the beautiful images to be found within. Featured inside are full-page studio portraits (each picturing the respective player in formal attire) of manager Ned Hanlon and all sixteen team members, including Wilbert Robinson, John McGraw, Joe Kelley, Bill Hoffer, William Gleason, Hugh Jennings, and Willie Keeler. Also pictured is the club's groundskeeper, Thomas Murphy. The preprinted lineups for each club include McGraw, Keeler, Jennings, Kelley, Gleason, and Hoffer for Baltimore, and Young, Burkett, Tebeau, Zimmer, and Childs for Cleveland. The game has been neatly scored in pencil and records the action of the fifth and final game of the series: a 5-2 victory for Cy Young and Cleveland. The Temple Cup championship series was the brainchild of William C. Temple, a Pittsburgh sportsman who offered the prize of an elegant trophy cup to the winner of a postseason series between the first and second place finishers in the National League. The Temple Cup series began in 1894 and although initially popular it lasted only four seasons before lack of fan support ended its run in 1897. Baltimore was the league champion in 1895, but, just as it happened the year before, they were upset by the second place Cleveland Spiders in five games. The great equalizer for the Spiders during the best-of-seven series was the legendary Cy Young, who defeated Baltimore three times, including the Game 5 clincher. The program (5.25 x 6.75 inches) displays a very minor separation along the spine, but the covers and all of the pages remain firmly intact. There is a tiny stain on the front cover, as well as a few tiny border tears. The back cover has a small chip in the upper left corner and a slightly larger chip in the lower left (each of little consequence). The interior pages are clean and free of any significant defects. Aside from the very minor faults as noted, the program is otherwise in Excellent condition. Temple Cup programs are exceedingly rare, and almost all of the few known examples have numerous and far more serious condition problems. This example, the finest we have ever seen and with only a few very minor faults, is in particularly spectacular condition for this great rarity. Reserve $2,000. Estimate $4,000+. SOLD FOR $8,813
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