Thursday marked the 84th anniversary of what’s generally considered the first MLB All-Star Game. The 1933 game did mark the first of what’s become the annual “Mid-Summer Classic” but big league players got together in similar fashion a couple of times before that, both for charitable purposes. A rare, original photograph from the 1917 game is leading off the RMY Auctions July Premier Catalog.
The photo of the American League team is one of only two known and is being offered for only the second time, having made its debut in 2007 when it sold for $15,275 at Robert Edward Auctions.
Among the players pictured are Shoeless Joe Jackson, Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Buck Weaver, Tris Speaker, Rabbit Maranville, Ray Chapman, Wally Schang, Stuffy McInnis, Steve O’Neill and Howard Ehmke with manager Connie Mack standing at the center.
The game pitting the AL stars against the Red Sox was a benefit for the family of popular sportswriter and former player Tim Murnane, who had passed away several months earlier. Every American League team sent a player to Boston for the game, which was played at Fenway Park in late September. There were other events held in conjunction with the game, including a skills competition among the players that saw Shoeless Joe win the throwing competition, Chapman a baserunning speed contest and Ruth the long ball compeitition.
The game was a success, raising over $15,000.
The photo is a 6 ¾” x 9 ¼” silver gelatin original with some light creasing and a small tear at the extrme top border and a scrape on the bottom left. Auction officials call it “easily one of the most significant baseball photographs that exist.”
The photo is one of over 1,200 historic sports, news and entertainment photos in the auction, which runs through July 22.