One hundred and eleven years ago this week, the Pittsburgh Pirates and Boston Americans were engaged in a best-of-nine contest to find out which circuit—the established National League or the upstart American—was superior. An exceptionally rare program from the first game of the first World Series hits the auction block today. Goldin Auction is offering the scorecard, fully scored by one of the 16,242 fans on hand that day, in its October Legends Auction.
It is one of only a very small number of 1903 World Series programs known to exist, with most residing in private collections. The fact that it is unquestionably from Game One makes it among the holy grails of baseball memorabilia collecting.
Boston starter Cy Young was roughed up by Honus Wagner and his Pittsburgh teammates on this day, losing 7-2, but the Americans would rally to take the series, five games to three.
The program features portrait ovals of the two Hall of Fame managers, Jimmy Collins of the Americans and Fred Clarke of the Pirates. At the top is an image of Michael “‘Nuf Ced” McGreevy, who owned the local Boston Bar “Third Base Saloon” and was the driving force behind Boston’s Royal Rooters, a boisterous fan club.
The program carries the pre-printed lineups for both teams and the pre-printed date of “Thursday, October 1, 1903” at the top. The scoring for the game includes Wagner’s first inning single that resulted in the first ever World Series RBI.
The fold over program is in its original state, having never been restored. It has separated at the fold, creating two individual sheets, which have a vertical crease, likely from being folded inside an overcoat and several corners are missing on the score sheets, but only affecting brief areas of two advertisements.
Goldin Auctions believes this particular example has never been made available at public auction until now.
Bidding opens Monday and closes November 1 at Goldin Auctions.