Graded FAIR 20 by SGC. Extremely rare E107 Breisch-Williams series card featuring Hall of Fame outfielder "Wee" Willie Keeler of the New York Highlanders (later to become the Yankees) of the American League. While all E107s are very rare, Keeler is both one of the most significant and one of the rarest of the Hall of Famers in the set. Despite the modest SGC grade, this is a very attractive card. Only seven Keeler examples have ever been graded by SGC (three GOOD, one FAIR, and three "Authentic"), and only one example has ever been graded by PSA (POOR). Of the dozens of E107s we have had over the years, this is only the second E107 Keeler example we have ever offered. Keeler, whose career spanned the years 1892 through 1910, was one of the game’s greatest hitters. He was also one of the smallest men ever to play in the Major Leagues. Standing only 5' 4" and fleet afoot, he was well suited to the “dead ball” era style of play. Keeler used the smallest bat in Major League history (30 inches, 29 ounces) and he often choked up half way. That bat control allowed him to practice his famous hitting theory of “hit em where they aint.” If the infielders were playing deep he would bunt; if they moved in, he would peck the ball over their heads. Keeler led the league in hits on three separate occasions and won consecutive batting titles in 1897 (.424) and 1898 (.385). During his five years with Ned Hanlon’s legendary Baltimore Orioles (1894-1998), Keeler never once batted less than .371 nor failed to amass over 200 hits (during which time the Orioles won three pennants and two World Championships). Despite a number of major rule changes made at the turn of the century that disadvantaged hitters, Keeler continued to post impressive numbers during the “modern era.” He finished his career in 1910 with a .341 lifetime average, a mark that ranks twelfth best all-time. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1939. Issued in 1903, E107s have long been revered by collectors. This set represents the only major baseball-card set of the era, features many players that appear in no other sets, and includes the first cards ever issued of many important stars and Hall of Famers. Bright and crisp, with four square corners, perfect image clarity, and very well centered. Downgraded by SGC for having a heavy stain in the upper right corner and surface paper loss near the right edge on the back. This is a very attractive low-grade example of this extremely important "Wee" Willie Keeler card with an overall appearance far better than suggested by its technically accurate SGC grade. Reserve $2,500. Estimate $5,000++.
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