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Lot
81848

1908 Greenville Spinners Team Cabinet Photograph with Joe Jackson....

2009 April Signature Vintage Sports Memorabilia Auction #714

 
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Auction Ended On: Apr 24, 2009
Item Activity: 8 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Heritage Auctions
3500 Maple Avenue
Dallas, TX 75219

Description:
1908 Greenville Spinners Team Cabinet Photograph with Joe Jackson. An absolute dream piece for the brave collectors concentrating on the tragic life of Shoeless Joe, this stunning team shot finds the nineteen-year old legend/pariah-to-be posing with his first professional club in his South Carolina hometown. The piece derives from the family of one of Jackson's teammates, who were likely the only recipients of the photo when it was created just over a century ago. This is the first ever to reach the hobby's auction block, and the first we've ever encountered, period.

It is worthy of note that it was during a 1908 doubleheader pitting the Spinners against the Anderson Electricians that Jackson would earn his famous nickname. After suffering through the first game in a pair of new spikes that raised blisters on his skin, Jackson removed them for the second. In the seventh inning, he laced a long line drive, sliding into third with a triple. As the dust cloud settled, an opposing fan shouted to him, "You shoeless son-of-a-gun!"

Upon a shabby ballfield more dirt than grass, the teenaged Jackson stands with eleven of his Greenville teammates. The young mascot sits at his right foot. The 7.5x9.5" sepia image is rendered with flawless contrast and clarity, and is affixed to a 12x14" cardboard mount artfully hand lettered at the time of issue. The text above reads, "Grenville (sic) S.C. Base Ball Club. Carolina Association. 1908." Beneath the image, each player is identified by surname and position. Fifth from left is "Jackson, CF." Toning, edge/corner wear and some mild surface abrasions are confined almost entirely to the mount, with the image itself presenting only some minor, unobtrusive spotting in the sky above the outfield fence, well clear of the players' images.

Jackson would not finish the season in Greenville, heeding Hall of Fame manager Connie Mack's call to join the Athletics in Philadelphia, where he would struggle to adapt to a life entirely different from the one he had known on the dirt farms and ballfields of the South. Here we see Shoeless Joe as the ultimate "diamond in the rough," a baseball prodigy just weeks from setting out upon a journey with all the trappings of a Shakespearean tragedy. One of the most exceptional and exciting baseball photographs to enter the hobby in recent memory.

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