He had gotten his first taste of the big leagues in 1908, had another “cup of coffee” in 1909 and a third in 1910 before being traded from Philadelphia to Cleveland. By 1911, Joe Jackson was ready for prime time. He exploded into the headlines with a season that’s still held in awe today. Now, a photo from that season, taken by a legendary baseball photographer, is on the auction block.
The 7 ½” x 9” Louis Van Oeyen photo is the headliner in RMY Auctions’ Summer Premier online catalog. The price quickly rocketed past $6,000 in the opening hours of bidding.
The auction includes over 1,300 vintage sports, historical and entertainment photos.
The image of Jackson shows him holding his follow through in front of a ballpark backdrop with other team members behind him. The back carries Van Oeyen’s stamp with “Joe Jackson, Cleveland Americans” written in cursive amid some marks by a photo editor.
Jackson became a star that season, batting .408—the best mark ever recorded by a rookie and second only to Ty Cobb’s jaw-dropping .420. He had 233 hits including 45 doubles and 19 triples, stole 41 bases, knocked in 83 runs and scored 126. His slugging percentage was .590. It was the start of a remarkable three-year run that ranks among the greatest stretches for a hitter in baseball history.
The silver gelatin photo was used in the 1912 Reach Baseball Guide and resided for decades in the archives of Baseball Magazine. The publication’s archives were sold in 1996. After it was purchased by a collector, it underwent restoration of a crease and tear on the lower right corner but is otherwise in outstanding condition. RMY calls it “the finest image of Joe Jackson we have ever handled.”
Auction bidding is set to run through August 8 at RMYAuctions.com.