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1876 Hartford Dark Blues CDV with Candy Cummings - Newly Discovered Example!
Starting Bid - $2,000, Sold For - $18,800
Rare and historically significant CDV of the 1876 Hartford Blues (Connecticut), including Hall of Fame pitcher Candy Cummings. Graded VG/EX 50 by SGC. This is not only a newly discovered example, but the first 1876 Hartford Dark Blues CDV we have ever seen. The formal studio photo pictures eleven members of the club posing together in uniform, including Cummings (standing, far right), Tommy Bond (standing, far left) and player/manager Bob "Death to Flying Things" Ferguson (seated, center). The photographer's name and city, "Isaac White - Hartford," is printed on the reverse. Candy Cummings, in addition to being one of the top pitchers of the National Association (baseball's first professional league), and a member of baseball's Hall of Fame, is best known today as the inventor of the curve ball. Surprisingly, despite his widespread fame, photos of Cummings are practically nonexistent. This CDV is one of the very few known images of Cummings dating to his playing career. Its inclusion of Cummings notwithstanding, this photo is further distinguished by the fact that it dates from the inaugural season of the National League and pictures the last Major League baseball team in Hartford's history. Hartford was one of the inaugural eight members of the National League, which was founded in 1876. The team fared well during its first and only season in the league, winning forty-seven games and finishing tied for second with St. Louis, six games behind the league-champion Chicago White Stockings. Despite the strong showing, gate receipts were less than expected and owner Morgan Bulkeley moved the club to Brooklyn in 1877, thereby marking the end of Major League baseball in Hartford. Cummings was nearing the end of his career in 1876, which is surprising, since he was only twenty-eight years old and was coming off the finest season of his career. As the workhorse of Hartford's staff in 1875, Cummings finished the year with a 35-12 record, a 1.60 ERA, and league-leading totals for both shutouts (7) and strikeouts (82). However, in 1876 Tommy Bond supplanted him as mound ace and even though Cummings finished the year with a 16-8 record and a 1.67 ERA, his days as a top pitcher were over. Cummings ended his Major League career with Cincinnati in 1877, compiling a record of 5-14. The photo (3.75 x 2.25 inches) displays exceptional clarity and remains in Excellent to Mint condition. The mount (4.25 x 2.5 inches) displays light handling wear. This is a remarkable, newly discovered example of this important rarity dating from the National League's inaugural season and one that records for all posterity Hartford's last entry at the Major League level. Reserve $2,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $18,800
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