Born 105 years ago to keep John McGraw’s pals out of the press box, the World Series press pin has been a staple ever since. Now, the original collection of pins from the man who helped launch them is going on the auction block.
Heritage Auctions will present the Stephen O. Grauley World Series Press Pin Collection in its Platinum Night sports collectibles auction in February 2017.
Grauley was a sportswriter for The Philadelphia Inquirer, which allowed him to forge a close friendship with Philadelphia Athletics manager Cornelius McGillicuddy, better known as “Connie Mack.” Grauley’s loyalty to Mack led to the creation of a World Series press pin, which remains a tradition in modern press boxes.
When the A’s met the National League champions, the New York Giants, in the 1911 World Series, Grauley was concerned that New York manager would try to continue his tradition of granting press box access only to his friends, thereby limiting the amount of space available for accredited members of the media.
“Giants manager John McGraw was notorious for cramming his buddies into the press box for important games,” Heritage Sports Collectibles Director Chris Ivy said. “With Philly within easy striking distance of New York City, Grauley suspected McGraw would attempt the same for the 1911 World Series games at Shibe Park. Thus the press pin was born as a means of regulating entry to the limited square footage of Philadelphia’s home field journalist quarters.”
The sharp-looking pin was an instant hit and a tradition was born. Grauley’s 1911 example (est. $40,000) is one of only five or six known to survive to this day, and its pristine condition and special significance establish it as the most desirable World Series press pin ever offered, Ivy said.
Also offered are Grauley’s pins for the 1913 (est. $6,000) and 1914 Athletics (est. $6,000), and the 1915 Philadelphia Phillies (est. $8,000), all considered among the best press pins known.