The 1914 Boston Braves were a team for the ages. Trailing the first place New York Giants by 11 games on July 18, the team that would be dubbed the "Miracle Braves" went on a tear. They won 60 of their last 76 games to win the pennant, then disposed of the heavily favored Philadelphia Athletics in the World Series. Now, a relic from that legendary team is giving collectors and fans something to talk about. It may be the first of what we now know as World Series rings.
A descendant of Braves' shortstop Johnny Evers has consigned a commemorative ring to auction, a piece of jewelry that may well debunk the previously held notion that the first team-issued World Series rings weren't made until 1922. Pins were the more common award early in the last century, but this is the second '14 World Series ring to enter the market. The first belonged to Rabbit Maranville and was sold in the Barry Halper Collection auction in 1999.
"The mystery surrounding that ring was the fact that no one had ever seen another," states the upcoming Robert Edward Auctions catalog, where the Evers ring will appear next month.
Some assumed it was either produced by Maranville himself or presented to him by others. Now that a similar ring belonging to Evers has surfaced, the possibility that rings were issued is real.
Still, the fact that only two have surfaced is intruiging. It could simply be that only two have survived. Only four 1919 Reds Worlds Championship pins are known, and even fewer 1910 Cubs Championship pins. It might still be the case that both Maranville and Evers decided to have these rings specially made for themselves.
It might also be the case that rings were offered to the players, but only at their expense, and most passed (remember, most owners were extremely tight with a buck in those days). Or, it might be that players were given a choice of a ring and another type of gift, and few chose the ring. That, too, was a common occurrence in the first half of the twentieth century.
It's impossible to say, but it's obvious that players had begun associating championships with rings on some level by this time.
The 14K gold Evers World Series ring features a single dimaond set within the center of a baseball diamond motif on the front. The Maranville ring sold 12 years ago had a different, less expensive stone that was likely a replacement for the original diamond. Evers' name appears engrabed on the reverse. F.H. Co. made the ring--the same company that created the pins that were given to the 1910 Cubs and 1919 Reds.
The ring was consigned to auction by Johnny Evers' nephew and comes with a copy of the last will and testament of Evers' daughter Marion in which she bequeathed the ring to him upon her death in 2002.
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