Lot # 8: 1887 Harry Wright N690-1 Kalamazoo Bats “Blank Back” (SGC VG 3) - “1 of 4; Only 1 SGC Example Graded Higher”

Category: Pre-1900

Starting Bid: $4,000.00

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(LOT 8)
1887 Harry Wright N690-1 Kalamazoo Bats "Blank Back" (SGC VG 3) - "1 of 4; Only 1 SGC Example Graded Higher"

Hall of Famer Harry Wright's significance to professional baseball is virtually unparalleled, for it was Wright who meticulously paved the way to help shape our National Pastime into the game we so zealously treasure today. Harry Wright joined the mid-west Cincinnati Red Stocking as a pitcher in 1867, and by 1869 they toured the entire country, not losing a game until the Brooklyn Atlantic's upset them on June 14, 1870. By that time, his Red Stockings were the first baseball players to receive a salary for their play, and were the talk of the country with thousands of avid fans crazing baseball mania. Wright seized this opportunity to create the first professional baseball league with the National Association established in 1871. Professional baseball was now ready to steal the hearts of millions of Americans, leading to its iconic designation as our country's National Pastime. Many of Wright's innovative ideas still exist today including pre-game practice, a live cork centered baseball, and, most important, overhand pitching. Additional exploits included patenting the first official scorecards and designing the basic uniform still worn today with knee-length knickers rather than pantaloons.

Henry Chadwick, who is generally considered "the Father of Baseball", summed up Wright's amazing contributions when he dubbed him "the Father of Professional Baseball." One of Wright's most prized cardboard artifacts is his ultra-elusive 1887 N690-1 Kalamazoo bat card, presented here in a splendid SGC VG 3 holder. One of a mere 4 examples at this plateau, only a single SGC specimen has achieved a higher grade! One of the rarest baseball card issues ever produced is the 1887 Kalamazoo Bats cigarette subjects distributed by the Philadelphia cigarette manufacturer Charles Gross & Co. Any example, regardless of the player and related technical grade, is worthy of a place in an esteemed 19th century collection, let alone one representing Harry Wright. A breathtaking sepia-toned image graces the obverse side, portraying outstanding contrast and clarity. Wright's dapper formal attire is utterly imposing, as baseball's founding father sits on a period- style wooden bench.

Additional highlights including his fine whiskers, period style hat and Marine-like shiny shoes, with all of these features contributing to the amazing mystique of this rare artifact. The bold sepia text beneath his hallowed image is completely intact, reading "Harry Wright, Man'g. Phila. – SMOKE KALAMAZOO BATS". The image reveals near-perfect vertical centering and only slightly favors the upper edge, with a modest area of soiling near Wright's left ear. The final compliment is a relatively clean blank back, and no obtrusive flaws are evident on either side. Remarkable to say the least, this oversized 133-year old artifact has effectively eluded the typical heavy creasing, tears or paper loss one would expect from an 1887 baseball card. In closing, the Harry Wright Kalamazoo Bats issue is one of the most coveted 19th century keepsakes, highly due to Wright's "founding father" status that provides a direct link to the foundation of our National Pastime, effectively transcending time to baseball's storied origin. In the late 1860's, Harry Wright ultimately decided to elevate a simple kid's game to the next level, forever placing baseball on the "Professional" map!

MIN BID $4,000
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