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1909 Shibe Park Opening Day Program with Joe Jackson Rookie Photo!
Starting Bid - $500.00, Sold For - $1,540.50
Extremely rare and very substantial 48-page souvenir program issued by the Philadelphia Athletics for the first game at Shibe Park. This is one of the all-time great early programs, of a quality on par with that of any World Series program of the era. While we have seen this rare one-day program offered at auction several times during the past thirty years, in most of those instances what some might consider its greatest significance was overlooked. Featured in this incredible Shibe Park Opening Day program are what may be the earliest published photos of Joe Jackson as a Major League player! Jackson is pictured on page forty-six posing in uniform with teammates Amos Strunk and Heinie Heitmuller, and again in the club's team photo on page forty-eight. Jackson only played with the Philadelphia A's for five games both in 1908 and 1909. Since his Major League debut occurred on August 25, 1908, at the tail end of the season, it seems highly unlikely that he would have been pictured in any of the club's programs published during the final month. The fact that he is even pictured here is amazing. Jackson had a hard time adjusting to city life, and Connie Mack opted to let him start the 1909 season with Augusta in the Class C South Atlantic League. Jackson stayed there for almost the entire season before Mack once again brought him back late in the season. By that time Mack had realized that Jackson just did not fit in with his urban teammates and the following season he traded him to Cleveland. The significance of the Jackson photos notwithstanding, this is an extremely important early program. Produced to commemorate the opening of one of baseball's legendary stadiums, the program features a photo of the brand-new Shibe Park, which today is recognized as one of the great old stadiums of days gone by. The interior includes illustrations and essays regarding the history of the club, as well as information regarding the construction of the new stadium. The exceptional cover design, which also includes cameo portraits of B. F. Shibe and Connie Mack, makes this program ideal for display. The opening of Shibe Park was a major event. It is surprising that so few examples of this program exist, although the then-steep price of 10 cents may be partly responsible. In over thirty years we have seen only three or four examples of this significant rarity, and the offered program is a newly discovered example. The program (7.75 x 10.75 inches), which has not been scored, displays bright, crisp colors and is in outstanding condition given its age and fragile nature. The front cover has a small chip in the upper right corner, a tiny edge tear along the top border, and a small, light circular stain in the lower right. The back cover displays a tiny edge tear along the base and a small separation from the spine at the top. Despite those minor flaws, the program remains in Excellent to Mint condition, and is one of the finest of the few examples we have ever handled. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000/$2,000. SOLD FOR $1,540.50
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