Superb 1889 Old Judge N172 Ed Delahanty Rookie Card "123-5 Stooping to Field Grounder" Pose (SGC EX 5)
One of our National Pastime's most hallowed rookie cards belongs to the immortal 19th century star outfielder Ed Delahanty, with his 1889 N172 Old Judge issue residing as "Big Ed's" true inaugural card. Although listed on both the SGC and PSA population reports as an 1887 Old Judge subject, Delahanty's N172 subject was first released in 1889, with the ultra-popular cigarette company releasing five separate poses for this budding superstar. One of the more eclectic and tough to find poses is the "Stooping to Field Grounder" image that portrays Delahanty in an almost awkward leaning over position, with his hands positioned to scoop up an oncoming ground ball. Listed as pose# "123-5 Stopping to Field a Grounder" in the renowned "Photographic Cards of Goodwin & Company" periodical, presented here is one of the finest known examples, a stellar SGC 60/5 offering that has only been matched by a single PSA EX 5 specimen!
Unfortunately, the SGC population report does NOT separate the "pop" counts of each N172 Old Judge player, grouping them all into one category for each specific player. Therefore, while we have never come across a higher SGC encapsulated copy, we cannot say with 100% certainty which poses are reflected on the SGC NM 7 and NM+ 7.5 Delahanty examples listed on their census report. What we can state with the utmost confidence is that other than the aforementioned PSA 5 example, this remarkable offering truly stands as an extremely tough Delahanty issue to obtain in any grade, let alone a mid-grade marvel. In 2019, Memory Lane sold a superb EX+ 5.5 Delahanty batting specimen for a staggering $25K, with this more obscure "Stooping to Field a Grounder" pose the scarcer of the two illustrations. Ed Delahanty's stature as possibly the most sought after 19th century Cooperstown Inductee on a cardboard issue is not only related to his incomparable batting prowess but the manner in which he tragically passed away. In only 15 seasons, "Big Ed" accumulated almost 2,600 hits, batted over .400 three times, finished his career with an astonishing .346 lifetime batting average and also owns the rare distinction of winning a batting title in both the National (Phillies) and American (Senators) Leagues. Unfortunately, his career ended in tragedy when in 1903, after allegedly drinking too much, stumbled off a train crossing over Niagara Falls and plunged to his untimely death.
Yet, similar to Lou Gehrig and Roberto Clemente, Delahanty's tragic death has solidified his hallowed legacy, forever linking him with baseball immortality. Synonymous with Delahanty's remarkable batting prowess is the fine eye appeal of this inaugural 1889 "Fielding a Grounder" pose that exhibits more than acceptable contrast and super clarity. The well-centered image still reveals a majority of its original details including "Big Ed's" classic uniform and period style cap. The print quality beneath this sanctified batting pose is likewise legible, the surfaces reveal no glaring blemishes, and only some mild vertical toning streaks are reflected along the left edge. Even corner wear is consistent with the technical assessment, no glaring creases are evident, and there is a faint surface abrasion situated by the lower left corner tip. One of the extremely tough N172 Ed Delahanty subjects to surface, its somewhat scarce pose and strong mid-grade assessment substantiate the bona-fide notion that it merits a final resting place in any world-class 19th century or rookie card compilation!
MIN BID $2,500