Nineteenth century baseball's most coveted display pieceAn Extraordinary Example of the 1894 Temple Cup Print by Hy Sandham. Named for coal, citrus and lumber baron (and Pittsburgh Pirates owner) William Chase Temple, the Temple Cup was an ornately detailed thirty-inch high double-handled silver trophy created in 1894 to be awarded to the victor of a seven-game series between the first and second-place teams of the National League. This first edition of the series would prove to be its most famous and controversial, as a financial scandal cast an ugly pall over the proceedings. After sweeping the first-place Baltimore Orioles in four games, the victorious New York Giants reneged upon the agreement to split revenues 50/50, a move that so disgusted the series' sponsor that Temple quickly sold the Pirates, ending his affiliation with the National League. The series would survive for three more years before fan apathy made further editions a losing financial proposition. The Cup itself was returned to the Temple family, where it languished for decades until it was tracked down by journalists at The Sporting News for display at the famous 1939 New York World's Fair. It was later sold to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum for $750, where it remains to this day.
In stirring shades of black and white, lithographer Hy Sandham captures the action of this precursor to the modern World Series. Elegantly dressed ladies and gentlemen fill the grandstands surrounding the diamond where a Giants baserunner is breaking for second. A runner on third anxiously awaits the pitch to a right-handed batter at the plate. From the ragged state of the infield grass to the abbreviated crouch of the catcher to the netting that protects the fans directly behind home plate, the work is a feast of period detail. Just as thrilling are the forty-four small individual photographic portraits of players and executives that frame the larger image at top and bottom. Among those pictured: John Mongomery Ward, George Wright, Albert Spalding, Frank Selee, John Brush, Hugh Duffy, Cy Young, Wilbert Robinson, Charles Comiskey, Ed Delahanty, Adrian "Cap" Anson, Roger Connor, Amos Rusie and George Davis.
The print survives in an absolutely stunning state of preservation, with any deviation from perfection so minor as to render the mention as overstatement. The artist's pencil signature appears at lower right of the 28x42" viewable area. Professional matting and framing results in final dimensions of 35x49". Ex-Bill Mastro Collection. Third party shipping required.
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