Mordecai Brown Photo Collection (3)

Sold For: $1,058

Auction Year: 2010 spring

Lot: 1432

Item Year: 1909

Category: The Golden Age of Baseball Photography

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Trio of high-quality vintage Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown photos, culled from The Chicago Sun Times archives, each of which clearly showcases the unique secret of his pitching success. 1) Photo of Brown warming up on the sidelines prior to a game in 1909 (8.25 x 9 inches). Brown's missing digit on his throwing hand is easily seen from this camera angle as he begins his follow through after releasing the ball. Reverse markings and attachments consist of four dates stamps (the earliest is "Oct-2 1943," the latest is "Tue Oct 2 '84"), editorial notations, an editorial processing slip, and a portion of the 1943 newspaper article that this photo accompanied. Although the exact date this photo was produced is unknown, the image dates to 1909, as the uniform Brown is wearing was only used by the Cubs during that one season. 2) Photo of Brown warming up on the sidelines prior to a game (4.5 x 6.75 inches). A small cut is affixed to the front that bears the written notation "Mordecai Brown - Cubs." Reverse markings feature only a handwritten notation and a piece of clear tape. Although undated, based upon the uniform style, in particular the socks, this image dates to 1908 (according to the the Baseball Hall of Fame Uniform Database). 3) Extreme-close up of Brown's pitching grip, highlighting his missing index finger (6.5 x 5.5 inches). The text embedded in the photo reads "Mordecai Brown's famous grip, Cubs. 1904." Reverse markings consist of two date stamps ("Jan 5 1962" and "Aug 13 1969"), a "Newspaper Division - Field Enterprises, Inc." credit stamp, editorial notations, and a cut newspaper clipping that reads "The grip of Mordecai (three-fingered) Brown, Cub pitching ace of the early 1900s. His success occasioned the long-ago-era sick joke that more pitchers ought to have fingers cut off." While Brown's physical deformity, which was the result of a childhood accident, may have been a joke to some, there was nothing funny about his success on the mound. The loss of his finger enabled Brown to develop a devastating curveball that was difficult to hit by both righty and lefty batters. Brown's special pitch enabled him to become one of the most dominant pitchers of his era and he finished his career with 239 wins and a lifetime ERA of 2.06 (third-best all time). All of the photos display a few very minor flaws common to nearly all working press photos, including numerous creases, edge tears, and editorial markings on the front. In Very Good condition overall. Total: 3 photos. Reserve $200. Estimate $400+.

SOLD FOR $1,058

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