Photographs from the collection of one of the most important figures in 20th century American sports will enter into the marketplace this week when Memory Lane opens its 2014 Winter Auction. Athletic luminaries from Cy Young to Dizzy Dean are pictured on first generation images, some of which were captured during the most celebrated events in American sports.
The eleven photographs originated with Christy Walsh, considered the first sports agent whose high-profile clients included Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jack Dempsey and Knute Rockne. The rare and valuable photos will be among hundreds of items in the auction, which will continue through January 10 at MemoryLaneInc.com.
Consigned by Walsh’s daughter-in-law, the photos represent some of the best items ever released by his estate. They include:
- An early 1900’s Type 1 Carl Horner photo of Cy Young that was used to create some baseball cards familiar to avid collectors including his E90-1 American Caramel card. The 4 x 5 ½” photo is one of only a small number known to exist.
- A Type 1 oversized photo featuring Ruth, Cobb, John McGraw, Walter Johnson, George Sisler, Nick Altrock, sportswriter Fred Lieb and Walsh, posing during the 1924 World Series.
A Type 1 oversize photo featuring Ruth, Cobb, McGraw, Rogers Hornsby and others posing during the 1929 World Series.
- A Type 1 photo from the Ruth/Gehrig barnstorming tour, which took place after the 1927 World Series. Walsh helped set up the tour, which proved lucrative to both players (Ruth received $2,500 per game) and raised their already sizeable profile across the country.
- A Type 1 1934 oversized photo featuring Ruth, Dean, Frankie Frisch and Mickey Cochrane taken at the World Series
- A 1937 ‘All-American’ baseball photo featuring Ruth, who served as chairman of a program to honor the game’s greatest players. After his playing days ended, Ruth and Walsh worked on naming members of the team, some of whom are pictured with their ‘All-American’ certificates including Gehrig, a young Joe DiMaggio and pitchers Carl Hubbell Red Ruffing. The photo was apparently taken during the 1937 Series between the Giants and Yankees.
- Team photos of the 1937 and ’38 World Series champion Yankees. A young DiMaggio and veteran Gehrig are pictured.
- An oversized image of a bed-ridden Rockne with members of the ‘All American Football Board’, charge with selecting players for Walsh’s team.
- A 1926 Type 1 photo of an immaculately dressed Knute Rockne and two Notre Dame players in a publicity image centered on Rockne’s famous backfield ‘shift’.
- Iconic photo of Jim Thorpe, depicting the immortal 20th century star in his Carlisle football uniform.
Walsh’s story is an amazing tale of perseverance, chutzpah and ahead-of-his-time talent. A writer by trade who was hoping to capitalize on America’s growing fascination with athletes, Walsh essentially stalked The Bambino until finally getting him to sign on as his first major sports client. Walsh’s efforts to lend Ruth’s name and voice to products and brands put more money into the slugger’s ever-growing bank account than he had seen before. It was Walsh’s counsel that helped get Ruth’s spendthrift ways under control.
He set up writing deals for his famous clients, using ghost writers to complete the work, helped orchestrate the making of Pride of The Yankees and was instrumental in turning Notre Dame into a world famous institution because of its prowess on the gridiron.
The photos place Walsh at the center of the country’s most important sports moments during the first half of the 20th century, rubbing shoulders with athletes who are still in the public conscience today, thanks in large part to his efforts.
Comprehensive descriptions of each photograph will be available this week on the company’s website and in the full-color catalogs.
To register for the auction or have a free catalog mailed to you, visit MemoryLaneInc.com or call (877)606-5263.
To see Memory Lane’s ongoing eBay auctions, click here.