Update 1/3/19: This item has been pulled from Heritage Auctions’ Feb. catalog. It had been reported on a list of items that went missing years ago from the New York Public Library.
Four years after establishing professional baseball, a sesquicentennial anniversary that will be commemorated this coming season, George and Harry Wright were members of a new team.
Carrying Cincinnati’s landmark Red Stockings of 1869 on their resumé, they took up residence in Boston where the first league to pay players was formed. The National Association of Professional Baseball Players was founded in 1871. Two years later, a card showcasing members of their championship squad (also known as the Red Stockings) was produced. One of the four known examples is heading for the auction block early next year. Graded 3 by PSA, the 5 x 3 ¼” cabinet card ranks as the best of that group.
It’s expected to bring $20,000 or more in Heritage Auctions’ Platinum Night event.
Players are identified on the card with their last name and position listed below a studio portrait.
In addition to Harry Wright, who managed the team, and his brother, the roster included pitcher Al Spalding who started 54 games and won 41; Ross Barnes who batted .431 to lead the league and Deacon White, who knocked in 77 runs, also best in the circuit. Future Hall of Famer Jim O’Rourke and Cincinnati holdovers Andy Leonard and Charlie Sweasy were also part of the powerhouse squad.
Playing at the South End Grounds in Boston, the Red Stockings went 43-16, winning the pennant by four games to become the first back-to-back champions of professional baseball.
Bidding is expected to open February 1 with hundreds of lots in the auction set to close over a two day period February 23 and 24.