Baseball took root in the east as the nation tumbled toward the Civil War that ended the dreams of many would be players for the game that would become America’s own. Relics from the era are few and far between but one extreme rarity believed to date from the year after Generals Grant and Lee signed papers to end the four-year conflict is about to go on the market.
In its next major trading card catalog,Heritage Auctions will offer one of only two known copies of the 1866 Grotecloss Studio “Union of Morrisania” CDV, picturing some early baseball pioneers, including George Wright.
Based in what is now called The Bronx, NY, the Morrisania club began in 1856 and continued playing until 1873. The 1866 team, with Wright playing the last nine games, finished 25-3. Wright is shown standing, fourth from right, in the image on the card. Team members also included Charlie Pabor, among baseball’s first left-handed pitchers and notable early star Dave Birdsall. The Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum has a painting based on this image in its collection.
The CDV photo shows 12 players and the team manager. The back carries the stamp of “Grotecloss, Photographer, 227 Blecker St. Corner Carmine, New-York.” The card itself is in excellent condition but has been labeled with an Authentic grade because of SGC’s current policy of not grading CDVs.
The card will be part of an auction set to open June 26 and close over a three-day period July 18-20.