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1921 Baltimore vs. Toronto Opening Day Panoramic Photo with Lefty Grove
Starting Bid - $300.00, Sold For - $2,014.50
Addendum: The printed catalog title has the photo listed as 1925, but it is actually from 1921.
This stunning panoramic photograph captures the members of the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Maple Leafs as they pose together on opening day, May 4, 1921, at Toronto's Island Field. What makes this photo so visually impressive is the backdrop selected. Taken from the perspective of the infield looking outward, the photo includes the stadium's large center field scoreboard, an enormous Coca-Cola advertising sign, a large clock, and even portions of the roller-coaster tracks towering behind the stadium walls. A capacity crowd can be seen in the grandstands on either side of the scoreboard. The white-letter caption along the base reads "Opening Day - Toronto's Baseball Season." Each team is identified in print below its respective members. The photographer's credit, "Photo sold by Alexandra Studios," appears in the lower right. Baltimore and Toronto were members of the International League in 1921 and each roster featured both future and former Major League stars. A young left-handed pitcher named Lefty Grove, in just his second year of professional ball, is pictured to the far left as a member of Baltimore. Grove posted a record of 25-10 with a 2.56 ERA in 1921. From 1921 through 1924 Grove won ninety-seven games with the Orioles and led the league in strikeouts four times. Despite those gaudy numbers, Grove remained in the minor leagues because owner/manager Jack Dunn refused to part with him unless he received $100,000. Finally, in 1925, Connie Mack gave in to Dunn's demand, forking over $100,600 dollars for the future Hall of Famer (the extra $600 made it a record price at the time). It was money well spent, as Grove helped lead the A's to three consecutive pennants and two World Championships from 1929 through 1931. Also pictured with Baltimore are two of Grove's future teammates on the Philadelphia Athletics, Max Bishop and Joe Boley, as well as legendary manager Jack Dunn, who is captured in street clothes in the center of the photo. It was Dunn, in 1914, who signed Babe Ruth to his first professional contract and later sold him to the Boston Red Sox. Whereas Baltimore boasted an up-and-coming roster, Toronto's lineup paid homage to the past by featuring former National League MVP and batting champion Larry Doyle, who served as the club's player/manager that season (Doyle was only with Toronto in 1921). Doyle is pictured flanked on each side by ten of his players. The photo (50 x 9 inches), which offers exceptional clarity, is in apparent Excellent condition, with a number of small vertical creases along the top border and a tiny interior tear (no paper loss, not on any of the player images) representing the only visible flaws of any consequence. Expensively matted and framed to total dimensions of 58 x 17 inches. The substantial size/weight of this item requires that there will be a shipping charge for this lot (which will vary depending upon where it is being shipped). The shipping charge will be billed separately from the auction invoice. Reserve $300. Estimate $500/$1,000. SOLD FOR $2,014.50
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