The family of Roger Bresnahan has consigned five items from the Hall of Fame catcher’s career to Heritage Auctions’ upcoming Platinum Night event in New York.
Included are a catcher’s mitt and game model bat, a traveling trunk, two loving cups presented to Bresnahan during his career and an original Carl Horner portrait, signed as a Christmas gift to his brother early in his career.
Bresnahan, a fiery competitor who often treated opponents and umpires with enough disdain to be ejected and sometimes physically removed from the ballpark, played and managed from 1897-1915. Most notably, Bresnahan was an innovator, introducing shin guards in 1907 and helping develop the first batting helmet.
After several years as the catcher for John McGraw’s New York Giants, he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals prior to the 1909 season and one of the loving cup trophies is believed to have been given to him by a group of fans upon his first return visit to the Polo Grounds. It reads: ‘To our pal, Roger Bresnahan, from his New York admirers, Polo Grounds, May 24, 1909.’
The second cup dates from the 1909 Cardinals home opener and was given as a welcoming gift by another group of admirers who shared Bresnahan’s Irish roots. The engraved message says:
“Presented by The American Sons of Erin of St. Louis To Roger P. Bresnahan, St. Louis Cardinals At Opening Game, April 22, 1909, Caed Mille Falthe [translated from Gaelic: A Hundred Thousand Welcomes].”
The 4 x 5 ½” photograph originated several years earlier with the same photographer who captured the famous image of Honus Wagner that was reproduced on his famous T206 card. In fact, the same photo of Bresnahan was used on his T204 Ramly, M116 Sporting Life, and the E103 Williams Caramel cards. On the back, written in pencil are the words: “Roger to Jim, Christmas 1903.” Jim Bresnahan was a brother to the young catcher.
The bat consigned by Bresnahan’s descendants is a hefty 42.5 ounce, 33-inch long Mohawk model graded PSA DNA GU 9 that bears spike marks and other wear. It is just the second bat attributed to Bresnahan that has ever come on the auction block.
The Spalding glove is a model that was introduced in 1912. Bresnahan’s name is handwritten on the thumb in vintage ink. The auction house includes a letter of examination from glove expert Joe Phillips.
The well-worn traveling trunk is believed to have been used by Bresnahan during his Giants career in the first decade of the 20th century.
The auction, which is composed of 375 high-end lots closes with a live portion in New York on February 22. You can register and bid via eBay Live.