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    1884 Providence Grays World Championship Pin Presented to Infielder Charley Bassett--First "World Series" Ever! Truly extraordinary treasure could be counted among the very rarest and finest artifacts of the 19th century game to cross our desks here at Heritage, a relic that recalls the first interleague battle waged under "World Series" nomenclature. In those days, the warring factions were the National League and the American Association, with the 1884 Providence Grays representing the former and the New York Metropolitans the latter. Providence was a team led to glory almost solely by the legendary pitcher Charles "Old Hoss" Radbourne, who recorded sixty of the team's eighty-four victories during the regular season, posting a 1.38 ERA in a staggering 678.2 innings of work. He'd win each of the three games of the 1884 World Series sweep.

    Each team put up $1,000 in a three-game winner-take-all series to be played entirely at the Polo Grounds in Manhattan, the first game going the full nine innings and the second and third abridged due to darkness and extreme cold respectively. The last game was effectively a formality as the Series had been clinched in two, but the Grays agreed to participate in the hopes of generating more revenue after the Mets coaxed them to do so by allowing them to choose the umpire. In a rather shrewd exhibition of gamesmanship, the Grays selected the Mets' Hall of Fame pitcher Tim Keefe for the job, denying their opponent their best player. Ultimately, only 300 spectators braved the cold to watch the technically meaningless finale. Radbourne allowed eleven hits and no earned runs in the twenty-two innings of the trilogy.

    This award was issued to rookie infielder Charley Bassett, whose name (Chas. E. Bassett) is artfully engraved on verso. Bassett would go on to play nine Major League seasons for five different teams, and is best recalled today for his appearance as a member of the Indianapolis Hoosiers in the 1887 N172 trading card issue.

    The creation is a masterpiece of jewelry design, topped by a yellow gold and blue enamel banner trumpeting, "1884 Champion." Dangling from a pair of links below, the words "Providence Nine" are centered atop a figural baseball diamond. Just above, in tiny lettering, the word "Champion" is repeated, and at center text that appears to read, "C.C. & 3B," likely a reference to Bassett's roles with the team. He played thirteen games at third base, the probable reference of the latter half of that graceful calligraphic lettering. As to the meaning of the "C.C.," we cannot venture a guess. Artistic flourishes of engraving fill the empty spaces at each corner of the design.

    Brooch pin remains intact on verso. Dimensions of the pin are approximately 2x2", and weight is thirteen grams (13 g.). There are no jeweler's markings on the piece, but it tests at fourteen karat (14K) gold. Condition is quite literally pristine, clearly the result of a long and lonely existence inside its original velvet-lined cardboard box embossed "The Robbins Company, Attleboro, Mass." on the lid.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2021
    6th-8th Thursday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 15
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,963

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