1872 Mort Rogers Boston (vs. Philadelphia) National Association Scorecard

Sold For: $7,638

Auction Year: 2010 spring

Lot: 1181

Item Year: 1872

Category: The Jerry Smolin Collection

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In the early 1870s former ballplayer and baseball entrepreneur Mort Rogers published a series of ornately designed scorecards for sale at Boston's South End Grounds. What set these cards apart from the standard scorecards of the era was the inclusion of an oval portrait photograph of a Major League player affixed to the cover. Today, Mort Rogers scorecards are not only rare, but one of the most highly prized baseball souvenirs from the era. While they are clearly programs, Mort Rogers scorecards also have much in common with cards. The offered example dates from 1872 and features a photo of Boston Red Stockings catcher Cal McVey on the front. McVey was also a member of the legendary 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings just a few years earlier. A very small strip of white paper is part of the design of the program (as made) and has been affixed to the blank area below McVey's image, partially upon which is scripted the name "C A McVey" in vintage black fountain pen (name is an identifier only; it is not McVey's signature). "Mort Rogers' Base Ball Photographic Card" is preprinted along the top of the front cover and the scorecard is hand numbered "48" in black fountain pen in the upper right corner. The fact that these programs are hand-numbered, identified, and assembled gives some clue as to their extremely modest production number at the time. The cost was enormous to produce these scorecards, and the cost was great for fans as well, as evidenced by the price of ten cents per photographic scorecard as noted on the cover, a very tidy sum for a program in 1872. This scorecard commemorates a National Association game played between the Boston Red Stockings and Philadelphia Athletics on June 12, 1872 at Boston's South End Grounds. The preprinted lineups include an extraordinary gallery of great stars of the era: Cap Anson, Ned Cuthbert, Dick McBride, Levi Meyerle, Dickie Flowers, Mike McGeary, Wes Fisler, Fred Treacey, and Denny Mack for Philadelphia, and George Wright, Harry Wright, Al Spalding, Cal McVey, Ross Barnes, Andy Leonard, Charlie Gould, Harry Schafer, and Fraley Rogers for Boston. (The lineups are preprinted on a sheet which was then affixed to the scorecard; as originally issued.) Based upon the combination of player names listed for each club, this scorecard can be pinpointed to the 1872 season. The score pages have been neatly scored in pencil and record a 13-4 Boston victory. Research indicates that the only 13-4 Boston home victory over Philadelphia in 1872 occurred on June 12th. The National Association, which operated from 1871 through 1875, was baseball's first professional league, and all material relating to its short-lived existence is exceedingly rare. Mort Rogers scorecards are no exception and represent one of the most substantial and desirable items relating to the dawn of Major League baseball. This is the first Mort Rogers scorecard we have offered in many years. It is also one of the most attractive of the very few examples we have ever seen. The scorecard (3.5 x 5.25 inches) displays a hint of light toning (primarily along the interior) and is in extraordinary Excellent condition overall. Reserve $1,000. Estimate $2,000/$4,000+. SOLD FOR $7,638

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