Baseball History

This category contains 14 posts

Koufax is Perfect!

courtesy of Michael Fox

Michael Fox has shared another of his great scoresheet posters, this time detailing the perfect game Sandy Koufax pitched in September of 1965. I just love these! Charles

1933 Game of the Century

Collector and historian Michael Fox has created an attractive and clever poster detailing Baseball’s First All-Star Game. He’s come up with a great way to follow the action of the game in visual form–great idea! It takes just moments to orientate to the format and then you can easily follow the action of the game. Very nice.

Michael is doing other important games in this manner and I hope that he’ll share some additional ones in the future. They are designed at 24″ x 18″, a perfect size for a poster. Thanks, Michael!

Did a Smack lead to Austin McHenry’s Death?

Austin McHenry by J. Scott Pedley

Reader John Coulson was glad to see this painting of St. Louis Cardinal Austin McHenry. McHenry had a very short, if memorable, career that was cut short by a tragic brain tumor.

To back up a bit, Austin McHenry was a son of Ohio, born in September of 1895. His talent was evident as a youngster and he began playing professionally for the Milwaukee Brewers of the American Association in 1916. The following spring he was invited to training with St. Louis but a ball off the bat of Sherry Magee broke his nose and sent him to the hospital. It took a month before he was ready to play again. Having lost his opportunity to impress, he was sent back to Milwaukee for the rest of the season.

Austin made the Cardinal team the following year and by 1921 had blossomed into one of the biggest stars in all of baseball. That season he appeared in 152 games, batting .350 with 102 runs batted in. It looked as if his future was assured. The following season, however, McHenry began to have double vision and would often feel unsteady on his feet. Fly balls became a challenge and his batting suffered. In June he was sent home to undergo tests. A brain tumor was discovered and operated on but the procedure was not successful. He died in November of 1922.

Since the beginnings of his serious troubles there has been speculation that the hard foul off the bat of Sherry Magee was responsible for the tumor.

Eddie Plank, Philadelphia Athletics

Eddie Plank by Helmar and Natallia Valiukevich

Jack Barry, Philadelphia A’s

Jack Barry, by Natallia Valiukevich

Natallia is coming along very well with her watercolors. We’ve been adding more color to her uniforms which, in my view, adds nice complexity and depth.

You might remember Jack Barry as the longtime shortstop, mainly for the Athletics. Over eleven seasons he only managed a .243 batting average but no one can deny that he knew how to win. His A’s teams won World Series Championships in 1910, 1911 and 1913. They also appeared in the 1914 World Series but the incredible Boston Braves were not to be denied. Boston swept the more polished team in just four games.

Connie Mack broke up the team over the winter and Barry was sold to the Boston Red Sox. He took his winning ways with him and that very season saw Boston in the World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies and their ace, Grover Cleveland Alexander. Boston took the series in five.

1910 World Series

1910: Philadelphia vs. Chicago. Helmar, not published.

The Athletics took the series four games to one. Charles

Visit our website here. And don’t forget our Tuesday night auctions here

Exhibit Display #1, Cleveland

Display done for exhibition at the Baseball Heritage Museum at League Park, Cleveland.

The Cincinnati Jungle Club

This painting became card #118 in Helmar’s R319 series

This is one of my favorite cards that we’ve done. Sanjay Verma did the original painting in gouache, as usual. The size of the original is only 3″ x 3.5″. I think that it is incredible to get that much detail into such a small space. Charles

Visit our website here. And don’t forget our Tuesday night auctions here!

Where the Babe blew off some Steam

In the heart of Baltimore you can still find traces of the great Babe Ruth. Patterson Bowling Center is the country’s oldest operating duckpin bowling alley and an early hangout of the Babe. Indeed, it is said that Babe claimed that the sport as his second favorite-just behind baseball.

John McGraw and Wilbert Robinson were also fond of the game. Some stories credit the two (particularly Robinson) as having invented it. McGraw, who loved to hunt ducks, is said to have described the scattering pins as a “flock of flying ducks” and the sport’s name derived from this.

Recently my wife visited Baltimore (and the Patterson Bowling Center) and took some nice photos:

Babe RuthOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPatterson Bowling Cener  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Patterson Bowling Center OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  img_faqs

Which Team Are These Giants On, Anyway?

I wanted to share this great photo of five great New York Giants. From left to right we have Fred Merkle, Laughing Larry Doyle, Christy Mathewson, J.J. McGraw and Fred Snodgrass. The most interesting aspect to me, however, is that it perfectly illustrates the challenges that we sometimes have in determining the correct details of team uniforms for a certain year. If you look closely you’ll see that not one of the five men are wearing the same uniform; each has a unique combination of New York apparel. Even McGraw and Snodgrass seem to be wearing different, though similar, uniforms. Anyway, it is a great photo!


When You Visit the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum…

Jim Dougherty writes that he recently visited the impressive Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum and Library in Greenville, South Carolina. It sounds like a wonderful place for baseball fans! Jim was kind enough to take a photo of a couple Helmar Joe Jackson cards that he noticed in a display. He also described an annual old style ball game between the Jackson and Cobb museums that sounds like it would be fun to participate in. Here’s a link to the Jackson Museum and one for the Cobb Museum. Thanks, Jim!

* Late Addition: Speaking of Shoeless Joe, the National Pastime Museum has a great article focusing on what some of the Black Sox did after they left the big leagues. They include a great image of a Joe Jackson painting that they commissioned from Helmar. The painting was also used to produce our Boston Garter card of Joe. Check out the article, you will enjoy it!

joe3 joe2 joe1

When is it Too Much Detail? Christy Mathewson

I have a friend who is a very contemporary, up-to-date kind of fellow. He is always centered exclusively on the here and now. His clothes shine with newness; he knows the release dates of the latest movies and what the movie stars have been up to. The future? Too vague to bother with. History? Come on, forget about it! What could be more boring than musty days gone by? He has often remarked that he finds my passion for history mystifying, an awkward defect in an otherwise good friend.

I was thinking of this today when I pulled up my Christy Mathewson file. In it there are nearly 350 different items ranging from photos to copies of news clippings and even other bits of information that relate to the Giant hurler only vaguely. Now, I’ll admit that much in this file is pretty obscure, things I’ll probably find useless even if I live another fifty years. It is, however, these seemingly insignificant details that can bring a person, a time and a place to life. So, with that in mind I’d like to share a few of the items in my Mathewson folder.

1064420038290_FactoryvillePennsylvania1891 Factoryville, PA, 1891. Can anyone tell me where his home would have located?

matty older  Two images of an older Matty…He was only 45 when he died in 1925.  1925 mathewson

Santanoni apts c mathewson    Santanoni Apartments 1930s    floor plan santanoni apts 1914   Two contemporary images of the luxurious Santanoni Apartments in Saranac Lake, New York. Mathewson had moved to Saranac to take advantage of the nearby tuberculosis treatment center and sanatorium. The final image is of the floor plan to his apartment. Old teammate Larry Doyle, afflicted in 1942 with the same disease, also made his way to Saranac. He stayed at the Trudeau Sanitarium a full twelve years, until it closed in 1954 with the introduction of effective antibiotics. He was the last patient to leave, walking off the grounds.

Christy Mathewson Cottage    Christy Mathewson Cottage 1930s   Two images of Christy’s final home.

Who made the Detroit Amateur Baseball Scrapbook?

The scrapbook is a small treasure trove of information relating to amateur baseball in Detroit. It seems to cover the period between 1914 to 1917 most heavily. In addition, there are other items relating to local industrial leagues. This is great because it is very, very difficult to find ANYTHING about amateur baseball in Detroit from that era.

It was only after spending some time perusing the pages that I was able to figure out that it was assembled by one “Charles L. Fitz”.  A 1918 military furlough describes him as, “22 yrs, 5 feet 71/2 inches”. His complexion is said to be “ruddy” and he has brown eyes and dark brown hair. I imagine that he was very much the typical soldier. Luckily, on the back of one piece of paper I was able to find his address: 952 Van Dyke Avenue.

That address places him downtown, just a long block off Jefferson Street. Jefferson was in effect the first major street in Detroit, the first off the river and it winds through downtown and the early neighborhoods, more or less hugging the flow of the river. Here’s a photo of Charles Fitz’s home as it looks today, a century later:

Decyphering the Mysterious Baseball Scrapbook: how it came into my hands

Well, the wife said that I should find something fun to do away from cards. She mentioned something about it being “unhealthy” to “obsess” about them. What utter nonsense! But to placate her I’ve been casting around recently, wondering what else might catch my interest…

And then this odd scrapbook fell into my hands.

It happened on a gloomy, cold Saturday evening last December. I received a call from someone that I hadn’t heard from in a number of years. He said that he had run across an item that brought me to mind, and that it was something that he knew I just had to have. In fact, he said, I might be the only person in the Detroit area that would appreciate it. He wanted to show it to me and was, in fact, calling from my driveway.

Oh boy.

So I invited him in and, after some small talk, he thrust an old blue scrapbook into my hands. At first glance, and second glance for that matter, it looked pretty boring. Nevertheless, I bought it from him, thinking that it would join all the other unread books in the basement.

Recently, though, I’ve been leafing through it and find it to be intriguing from a baseball history perspective. I’ll write more of that later, but for now here is a photo of “the book”:

A Plug for a Wonderful Resource Book

To Jump directly in another window to our auctions click here

I just picked up this great little book by Brian McKenna and thought that I would share it with you. It’s called Baseball History Research 101 and really lays out some great tips and resources for those interested in digging into baseball history. If learning more about our history appeals to you, this little book is well worth the cover price of $16.97. For more information or to order, click here.

Buck Weaver Quits Job as Soda Jerk; Will Play for Jimmy Archer

If you’re anything like me, you can easily get lost for hours on the Internet, transfixed, wandering aimlessly from one obscure web page to another. Today I was searching for obscure anecdotes on Irish Jimmy Archer (born in Dublin) and came across this short, interesting article. It is from the April 9th, 1921 issue of the Toledo News-Bee (page 16). I knew that most of the Black Sox had some difficult times after they were forced out of baseball but I hadn’t realized that Buck Weaver had become a soda jerk. Still, a job is a job. I’ve already made a card of Weaver playing for Sorensen’s Ice Creams, perhaps I’ll make one of him with the Woodlawn Lions. There was another article about Jimmy Archer managing an Aurora team that was due to play the Chicago Union Giants the following year, that was interesting, too. Anyway, here is the article and our E145-Helmar Jimmy Archer:

%d bloggers like this: