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

2009 October Signature Sports Memorabilia Auction #716

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Auction Ended On: Oct 2, 2009
Item Activity: 3 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Heritage Auctions
3500 Maple Avenue
Dallas, TX 75219

1908 Greenville Spinners Team Cabinet Photograph with Joe Jackson. The appearance of a spectacularly rare 1908 Greenville Spinners photo featuring a nineteen-year old Joe Jackson in the April 2009 Heritage Signature Auction was considered by many cultured collectors to be the most significant baseball photography find in years, and rightfully so. Surely issued only to team members and possibly a few Greenville VIP's, such photos were never in strong supply even a century ago and survival of an example in a modest farming community like Greenville, particularly in untattered condition, was little short of miraculous. But the remarkable $41,825 result in our April auction has served to shake another example awake from its long slumber, proving that lightning does occasionally strike twice.

Even more exciting is the fact that this image is a slight variation on the April auction example, with the players turned to their right, though still in the same order with the future Black Sock standing fifth from left. We also find no handwritten identifiers at the lower mat, but otherwise the dimensions and general condition remain the same.

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 left toe. The 7.5x9.5" sepia image is rendered with flawless contrast and clarity, and is affixed to a 12x14" cardboard mount. Toning, edge/corner wear and some mild surface abrasions are confined almost entirely to the mount.

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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