1916 John McGraw and Christy Mathewson Photo

Sold For: $705

Auction Year: 2010 spring

Lot: 1447

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Original press photo, culled from The Chicago Sun Times archives, capturing John McGraw of the Giants and Christy Mathewson of the Reds shaking hands as rival managers in 1916. Reverse markings consist of an "Aug 28 1916" date stamp, and an American Press Association printed news caption that describes the moment. In part: "They are now both managers; one an old hand at the tiller and a winner of many pennants; the other just breaking in as a pilot of the Cincinnati Reds...Wednesday was Matty Day at the Polo Grounds and we show the fans that their rivalry did not affect their friendship; McGraw and Matty shake hands in full view of all." While we cannot be certain, based upon the information provided in the caption, it appears that this photo pictures McGraw and Mathewson shaking hands as rival managers for the very first time prior to a game on July 26th. It was just six days earlier, on July 20th, that the Giants traded three future Hall of Famers away when they sent Christy Mathewson, Edd Roush, and Bill McKechnie to Cincinnati in exchange for the Red's player/manager Buck Herzog, and Wade Killefer. The trade was specifically made to give Mathewson the opportunity to manage the Reds. Although the date stamp on this photo is August 28, 1916, the caption specifically mentions that "Wednesday was Matty Day at the Polo Grounds." The first time that Mathewson returned to the Polo Grounds as a member of the Reds was on July 26th, a Wednesday. On August 28th, the Giants visited Cincinnati, but that date was Monday. Therefore, it seems reasonable to assume that this photo dates from Mathewson's first game back in New York on July 26th, and that the papers reused the image on August 28th when the Giants next faced Cincinnati. Mathewson did not fare very well against his mentor that season, winning only two of the ten games he managed against the Giants. The photo (6 x 8 inches) is remarkably free from many of the minor flaws common to nearly all working press photos and is in Excellent to Mint condition. Reserve $200. Estimate $400+.


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