December 2020 Auction
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 12/11/2020
Nicknamed “Cap," “Pop," and even “Pappy," Adrian Anson was baseball's first superstar performer. The bold Ansonius, sportswriter Eugene Field's verse, earned fame on baseball diamonds and in clubhouses at a time when the game became America’s national pastime. Indeed, for better or worse, Anson and a few of his contem­poraries gave professional baseball much of its modern character. Born in 1852, young Anson learned the fun­damentals of the game from his father, an amateur third baseman who organized the first Marshalltown, Iowa Baseball Club. After a brief stint at the University of Iowa, he transferred to Notre Dame University in 1869; there he excel­led as a second baseman. A larger-than-life figure of great talents and great faults, Anson managed the White Stockings to five pennants and set all the batting records that men such as Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth later broke. Anson was the second manager to win 1,000 games and the first player to stroke 3,000 hits. Although he retired from active play in 1897, he is still the all-time leader in hits, runs scored, doubles, and runs batted in for the Chicago franchise. Young Adrian Anson wanted to play professional ball, and his break came in 1870 when the famous Rockford Forest City club and its star pitcher, Al Spalding, came to Marshalltown for a pair of games. The Forest City team won both matches, but the Anson clan played so impressively that the Rockford management sent contract offers to all three of the Ansons. Henry and Sturgis turned Rockford down, but Adrian accepted and joined the Forest City squad in the spring of 1871. Anson went on to a spectacular career and became the first man to accumulate 300 hits. After the 1888 season Spalding, owner of the sporting goods company that still bears his name, took the Chicago club and a team of National League all-stars on a ball-playing excursion around the world. Virginia Anson accompanied the party as Anson directed the White Stockings in New Zealand, Australia, Ceylon, Egypt, and the European continent. The trip lost money for its backers, including Anson, but it introduced baseball (and advertised Spalding’s business) to countries that had never seen the sport before. The six-month adventure was the high point of Cap Anson’s life, and takes up nearly half of Anson’s autobiography, published in 1900. At the conclusion of the trip, in April of 1889, Spalding signed Anson to an unprecedented 10-year contract as player and manager of the White Stockings. By 1890, Anson was a stockholder in the Chicago ballclub, owning 13 percent of the team. A company man through and through, he bitterly criticized the Brotherhood of Professional Ball Players, whose members quit the National League en masse in early 1890 and formed the Players League. Anson, one of a handful of stars who refused to jump to the new league, hastily assembled a new group of youngsters (which the newspapers dubbed Anson’s Colts) and finished second that year. Spalding worked behind the scenes to undermine the rival circuit, while Anson led the charge in the newspapers, denouncing the jumpers as “traitors” and gleefully predicting the eventual failure of the upstart league. The new circuit collapsed after one season, but Anson’s role in the defeat angered many of his former players. Some reporters called Anson “the man who saved the National League,” but many former Players Leaguers hated the Chicago captain for his attitude toward them. Such stars as Hugh Duffy and George Van Haltren refused to return to Chicago after the collapse of the rival circuit, costing Anson much-needed talent. In 1891, Anson’s Colts held first place until mid-September, but an 18-game winning streak vaulted Boston into the lead amid rumors that Boston opponents threw games to keep the pennant out of Anson’s hands. Chicago finished in second place, and Cap Anson believed for the rest of his life that he lost the championship through the machinations of his former Players League rivals. The bat itself is worthy of inclusion in the Baseball Hall Of Fame! To authenticate the bat, examination of the known dimensions of 19th Century batsman was a starting point. During the time of the use of this bat manufacturers such as Spalding as well as Hillerich And Bradsby were not making bats and no one was burning company names or players names into bats. Bats during this time period were made for the players by local woodworkers and the finish as well as the dimensions of this bat are consistent with the tools of the trade during this time period. The bat's documentation comes in three forms. First, a 4 x 4 piece of vintage paper is attached to the barrel of the bat and contains vintage notations including a partial autograph by Anson which has been authenticated by PSA/DNA. Parts of the paper have worn away exposing faded areas of discoloration which would be consistent assuming that the paper was applied to the bat sometime around 1907 or even earlier. There is also vintage writing on the barrel of the bat that has been deemed authentic and from the period. Finally also included is a March 1907 Sporting Life article detailing how Heinie Peitz received the bat directly from Cap Anson in Anson's basement. Pietz was winding down a sixteen year career in the Major Leagues and was invited out to Anson's house and allowed to select a bat from Anson's accumulation. As well on the barrel of the bat are the following notations: This Bat Was Used In the 1888 Campaign Of The 1888 Chicago B.C. By Our Beloved Adrian C. Cap Anson. This is followed by some indecipherable words and then followed by these words "By League Batsman." Anson won the league batting title and when looking at the entirety of the words both the decipherable as well as the undecipherable, this is likely what was referenced. Bats such as this that can be liked to specific nineteenth century players are exceptionally rare and even more astounding when considering that the offered bat was one of the very few that can be traced to use by Adrian "Cap" Anson, the first superstar the sport had known. Offered is without question one of the greatest nineteenth century bats known in our hobby, a true Hall Of Fame caliber collectible!
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $75,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $198,613.20
Number Bids:10
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