1910 Old Mill Cigarettes (6th Series) – Casey Stengel "Pre-Rookie" First Cardboard Issue (SGC EX 5) - "1 of 3"; Highest Graded SGC Example"
Long before Casey Stengel was managing the New York Yankees dynasty, he made his MLB debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers during the 1912 campaign. The fleet footed outfielder would enjoy a formidable 14-year career, and was the first player to hit a World Series home run at Yankee Stadium, when he stroked an "inside-the-park" homer in game one of the 1923 Fall Classic. In 1910, two years before he would join the Brooklyn club, he played the outfield for the Maysville Rivermen in the Class D Blue Grass League, moving up to the Class C Wisconsin-Illinois League (Aurora Blues) in 1911 and batting a robust .352. That stellar performance enabled Stengel to be promoted to the Class A Southern Association in 1912 (w/the Montgomery Rebels), and after posting a formidable .290 batting average, Stengel was finally "called up" by Brooklyn to finish out the latter part of the season in the big leagues.
Incredibly, Stengel's brief stay in the 1910 Blue Grass League prompted his "pre-rookie" appearance on one of the most significant cards in the hobby. In 1910, the Old Mill Tobacco Company issued a substantial group of minor league baseball cards that were distributed to the general public in eight different series. Commonly referred to as "T210 Old Mill Red Borders", the set produced two absolutely iconic subjects, Shoeless Joe Jackson (8th Series) and the "Old Professor" himself, Casey Stengel, who was distributed in the 6th Series. Both cards are extremely scarce and highly coveted by esteemed collectors, primarily due to their "Pre-Rookie" status, with the Stengel subject truly standing as his undisputed inaugural baseball card (the Joe Jackson T210 was actually preceded by his 1909 E90-1 rookie card). That said, Memory Lane is now proud to offer this remarkable SGC EX 5 Casey Stengel T210 Old Mill rarity that along with two other examples, currently resides as the finest SGC encapsulated specimen! Indeed, the paucity level of owning any graded Stengel T210, let alone the finest SGC example, is substantiated by the combined SGC and PSA "Pop" Charts that list only 18 encapsulated specimens (with only a sole PSA 6 higher graded example).
Charles Dillon Stengel was elected to baseball's illustrious Hall of Fame in 1966, largely in part due to his uncanny managerial success with the New York Yankees from 1949-1960 in which he won 7 world championships, including a record 5 consecutive titles from 1949-1953! He was well respected and admired by virtually all his peers, and will forever be famous for his non-stop, rambling speeches called "Stengelese." Approximately 39 years before he donned his first Yankee pinstripes jersey, he would suit up in his Maysville uniform that is brilliantly portrayed on this world-class T210 offering. Stengel's youthful pose presents him at the tender age of 19 years old, certainly not aware of the Hall of Fame career he would ultimately be embarking on. Unlike most of the known examples, his portrayal on this legendary card is outstanding to say the least, exhibiting near-perfect contrast and clarity with no glaring surface flaws, whatsoever.
One of its most appealing aspects is the minimal surface wear on the ultra-sensitive red borders that are typically plagued by scattered abrasions. This offering only reveals some diminutive border/edge wear near all four corner tips, and the hallowed Stengel image is well centered (approximately 40/60 "left to right" and nearly 50/50 "top to bottom") between four relatively clean red borders. A bold "OLD MILL CIGARETTES" ad-back is the final compliment for this 110-year old museum worthy masterpiece that has stubbornly defied "father-time" to emanate a myriad of its original factory issued attributes. Via its highest graded SGC stature, magnificent eye pleasing quality and ultra-obscure standing, this SGC 5 Casey Stengel "Pre-Rookie" heirloom proudly stands tall as one of the hobby's most significant cardboard mementos, with its fortunate new owner the sure benefactor of bragging rights for years to come!
MIN BID $7,500