Thursday, March 23, 2017

Joe Carr 1926 Pottsville Maroons Coal Charm

 Historically significant 1926 Pottsville Maroons anthracite charm presented to NFL commissioner Joe Carr. The significance of this piece cannot be overstated as Carr was responsible for stripping the Maroons of their championship and suspension from the NFL at the end of 1925. In 1926 Carr visited Pottsville and was presented with this charm, an olive branch of sorts. The Maroons were subsequently readmitted to the NFL, having some leverage due to their notoriety (NFL championship and their defeat of the Four Horseman), and given the fact that Carr now needed the Maroons as another upstart league, the AFL, was threatening to bring the Maroons on board (the other league already had Grange) and this may have spelled the end for the NFL. The charm has been in the Carr family from 1926 until this year. The Pottsville Maroon story is an intriguing one and a central figure to it is Joe Carr. Engraved in coal is "Pottsville 1926" and "JFC" (for Joseph Francis Carr).  Roughly an inch in size.  There were numerous controversies and concerns with Carr wielding his power as commissioner unevenly, often favoring teams from larger cities or owners with bigger bankrolls. One cannot help but draw a modern day comparison to Roger Goodell and a number of his rulings, such as those against Brady and the Patriots, as being uneven or excessive or even unwarranted, as in his most high profile rulings against the team.

Friday, December 16, 2016

1892 Yale Athletic Association Trophy

We have seen a number of Yale Athletic Association items offered this past year such as caps, sweaters and the like, so we decided to post one of our related trophies. From the Winter Meeting of 1892, this First Place Yale Athletic Association wrestling trophy was won by C.L. Avery Jr. Avery was a wrestler of note wrestling in various weight classes.
Avery was mentioned in numerous New York Times articles in 1892 and 1893. Mention was made of his wrestling on March 27, 1892, and on March 21, 1893 in the NYT article headlined “Yale's Winter Meeting; Closely contested events in which collegians win chief honors”. He was also mentioned in NYT articles on March 25, 1893. We see records of him wrestling at three weight classes, heavyweight, middleweight and lightweight during these two years. One article from the Times was headlined “Avery's fine Wrestling” in the March 28, 1893 edition.

This is a really neat trophy with outstanding engraving and unusual elephant handles. It measures roughly 6 3/8" height and 9"in width at the handles. One of our favorite non football trophies.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Exceedingly Rare and Important 1868 Princeton Baseball / Football Silk

Printed in October of 1868 and worn by the Princeton Baseball Team as well as members of the student body, there is a great certainty that these ribbons were first worn at the Princeton vs. Athletics game of October 31, 1868. “Such badges, arranged for by the Class of 1869, were much in evidence” in October of 1868, at the time of President McCosh’s inauguration. McCosh was also in attendance at this baseball match. It is also likely that these were worn in April and May of 1869 when Princeton played the Athletics, Philadelphia and then the Atlantics. 

There is an interesting history behind this ribbon. George K. Ward, listed as having played in baseball games for the Nassaus/Princeton in 1866, '67, '68, '69 and '70, had a certain preoccupation with the Princeton Baseball Team ribbons and the team/school colors. An excerpt from his writings in 1869, taken from the book Athletics at Princeton – A History, 1901 is as follows:

It is also likely that these silks were worn at the first Princeton – Rutgers football matches in 1869 and I am currently looking for a reference stating this, that, I believe I had come across some time back. It does make sense that they would have been worn by those playing and those in attendance, as an expression of pride in Princeton's newly recognized colors. We also know that at the Princeton - Yale football game of 1873 (Princeton's only game of that year), Henry Moffatt "wearing an orange badge with the word "Princeton" printed in black"..."started the game by kicking off for the visitors, sending the round, black rubber ball into Yale territory" (Football: The Ivy League Origin of An American Obsession, Bernstein).

Baseball silks are scarce and are very desirable for advanced baseball collections, and this ribbon in particular has the probable additional football association, making it an important silk and a significant addition to our collection.  

For a related blog posting see our July 7, 2013 entry. Photos are of Princeton All-American William Church's orange and black ribbons that were worn by him in the 1890s; from his personal scrapbook.

From the National Baseball Hall of Fame is the following article on silk baseball ribbons.

A second reference from another blog page that deals with a 19th century collage of these ribbons.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Gem Sized Football Tintype c.1890

                                                            Actual size 1" x 1 1/2"

This tintype lies in between the standard gem and a sixteenth plate in size, measuring 1” x 1 1/2” . Smaller tintypes became quite popular as they could be produced more cheaply and in larger numbers, on one plate, with the advent of “multiplying” cameras (introduced in the mid 1850s).
The tintype, introduced in 1856, was more commonly referred to as a ferrotype, not actually a photograph on tin, but on a thin iron sheet that has a japanned surface. As CDVs, cabinet cards and larger format photographs on paper gained in popularity, tintypes quickly fell out of favor.
We have seen roughly twelve to eighteen football tintypes as compared with the many thousands of baseball tintypes that have been documented or have come on the market over the years. The reasons for this are in part related to baseball's earlier beginnings and prevalence, preceding the advent of football in this country by well over a decade and its notable rise in popularity by as many as three decades.
During the first decades of baseball the tintype was a major photographic format. When football was taking hold and establishing its place in the sporting hierarchy, photographs on paper media were the predominant photographic formats. Sports related gem sized tintypes are certainly scarce, as this is the only example we have come across.
I would also recommend looking at two of our other blog entries related to football tintypes (August 11, 2013 and November 3, 2014).

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Class of 1897 Harvard Football Team

We pick up photographs of college class football teams as they can be great photos on their own and aid in our research. This particular photo of the Harvard class of 1897 team had several things that were of interest to us. This is a larger (9 ½” x 13”) albumin photo of great clarity and identified sitters. It came out of the personal album of Harvard graduate Thomas Gannett of Hopedale, MA, whose photo playing tennis can be seen below (on the reverse side of the album page from  the football photo).
Something I really enjoyed finding, was that a fly introduced itself during the photographic process and appears in the photo on the team manager’s shoulder. That was a first (see close up below).

Close Up of the Fly in the Photo

           “Thomas B. Gannett Jr. and Maggie Carr playing against Mr. Carr, Manchester, 1896”

Saturday, September 3, 2016

1900 Yale Tankard

Certainly unique, this amazing pottery tankard has over sixty signatures inscribed on it, predominantly from the Yale class of 1900. At 15 3/4” inches in height and over 23" in circumference at the base it’s significantly impressive. Of interest to readers of this blog are some of the signatures that are present on the tankard (signed with a “resist” such as wax so that the glaze would not adhere to the pottery during firing and leave their signature behind) representing various players on Yale’s varsity sports teams. Additionally, one would note those signing were a societal ‘Who’s Who’ for the period.
We often have sought out and acquired unusual examples of player’s autographs, whenever possible contemporaneous to the time they were playing (as are these) their respective sport (see the blog entry posted  July 8, 2013, “The Ghosts of My Friends” for another unusual collection of autographs). Autographs of those having signed the tankard are listed below and include senior societies and fraternities when known (S+B for Skull and Bones, S+K for Scroll and Key, WH for Wolf’s Head, ADP for Alpha Delta Phi, DKE for Delta Kappa Epsilon, PSI for Psi Upsilon). A handful of autographs are yet to be identified, and not every signatory has been fully researched as to sports affiliations, fraternities or senior societies.  
Signatories playing football for Yale include: 
Malcolm L McBride is a key signatory on the tankard. McBride was a three time All American, playing for the Yale varsity football team in 1897, ’98 and 1899, when he captained the team.  Coaching Yale in 1900 he had a 12-0 record and the team was named National Champions.  A New York Times article dated August 13, 1900 titled “McBride to Coach Yale” read as follows:  “It was stated today that Malcolm L. McBride, Captain of the Yale football team of 1899, would be head coach of the Yale eleven next fall. His chief advisor in the work of developing Yale’s team will be Walter Camp. McBride’s assistants in the coaching will be Frank A. Hinkey, Captain in 1894 and 1895; Frank Butterworth, the famous full back of his day and W.T.Bull, ’88. Mr. Camp does not expect to take any active part in the coaching. He will however keep in closer touch with the game than he has for the past five seasons and will resume his old rule of chief advisor to the team. This is the most formidable array of coaches that Yale has ever selected.” (ADP) 
George W. Hubbell played on the Yale varsity football team in 1898 and 1899. (WH, ADP) 
Richard J. Schweppe played on the varsity football team in 1898 and 1899 (WH, ADP) 
David R. Francis played on the varsity football team  in 1899 (S+K, ADP, Track 1899) 
Corliss E. Sullivan played on the varsity football team in 1897 and 1898 and on the varsity baseball team in 1897, ’98, ’99 and ’00 (S+B, DKE) 
References also had the following signers as earning their football Ys: 
Keyes Winter earned his football Y (Intercollegiate Football Book) (WH, DKE) 
Percy A. Rockefeller earned his football Y in 1899 (S+B,  ADP) 
Additional signatures of note that played varsity sports include: 
John P. Brock played on the varsity hockey team in 1898, ’99 and ’00 (Yale winning the Intercollegiate Hockey Championship in 1899 and 1900). This was very early for hockey and the first Harvard-Yale game was in 1900, which he played in. Brock also was a member of the varsity crew in 1898 and ’00 (WH, ADP) (Refer to our blog entry dated March 23, 2014, “Gresham Poe / Princeton Hockey 1902 / Northampton Hockey Trophy” for a summary of early American hockey). 
Stuart B. Camp played varsity baseball in 1897, ’98,’99, and ’00, captaining the team in 1900 (S+B,  ADP) 
James H. Niedecken rowed for varsity crew in 1898, ’99 and ’00 (S+K, DKE) 
Other signatories include (alphabetically): 
Frederick Baldwin Adams (ADP, S+B)
J. Pinckney H. Adams (Track 1899)
James W. Barney (DKE, S+K)
Charles E. Brinley (PSI)
Frank D. Cheney (DKE)
Thomas B. Clarke Jr.
William S. Coffin (S+B, DKE)
John W. Cross (S+B, PSI)
Malcolm Douglas (S+B)
Clare H. Draper (ADP)
Stephen B. Elkins
Henry E. Ellsworth (ADP)
John S. Ferguson (PSI)
Edward B. Greene (WH, ADP)
James C. Greenway (S+B, PSI, Crew ’97)
Harold H. Hackett
Frederick C. Havemeyer (S+K, DKE)
Lyman C. Hedge
Burns Henry (PSI)
John M. Hopkins (S+B, ADP)
Clarence P. Hulst
Bascom Johnson  (ADP, Track/Pole Vault)
Owen Johnson
Cortland F. Luce
George A. Lyon
Medill McCormick (ADP)
Robert H. McCormick (ADP)
Clarence Ordway
Charles R. Page (DKE)
Roswell M. Patterson (WH)
Robert Stevenson Jr. (S+K, DKE)
Hulbert Taft (S+B, DKE)
Charles L. Tiffany (S+K, PSI)
Robert C. Twichell (WH, ADP) 
Class members who were “Non-Graduates”: 
George N. Boyd
Arthur S. Goodwin
Harrison Gray
Henry O. Havemeyer
Davis M. Kellogg
Henry W. Lyman
Crispin Oglebay (S+K, ADP)
William Post Jr. (PSI)
David D. Tenney 
Signatories that are listed as members of the class of ’01: 
W. Woods Chandler
A.L. Gile
Julian Day

Close up of J. Camp's signature, left middle

                                           Close up of Malcolm L. McBride's signature, middle

Friday, August 26, 2016

More on Amos Alonzo Stagg

   Stagg Posing With His Electric Car. He Was Known to Coach From His Car at Chicago,  photo 1933
There is an abundance that has been written about Amos Alonzo Stagg, nicknamed the “Grand Old Man of Football” whether it be related to football, baseball, basketball or any number of other sports. As a player, coach and author he has made his mark. We have made mention of Stagg in numerous postings (e.g. see previous posting) and will continue with this post. Stagg is listed on the Yale varsity football rosters for the years 1888 and 1889 (the year he was named an All – American) and captained  the team in 1888. He was better known at this time for his baseball prowess and pitching ability. He played for Yale and is listed on the varsity baseball rosters for the years 1885, ’86, ’87, ’88, ’89 and ’90.  He was a strong enough pitcher to have been given the opportunity to play professionally, but his personal morals precluded this. 

                          1889 Yale Team Baseball Photo (Stagg Holding the Ball), Pach Cabinet Photo

  Stagg and Catcher Jesse Dann (Captain of the Baseball Team in 1887), 1888, Pach Cabinet Card

                                              Jesse Dann, c. 1889, Catcher, Pach Cabinet Card