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Description1887 Sam Wise Boston Beaneaters Batting Championship Sterling Silver Presentational Bat. If modern Silver Slugger awards provided half the aesthetic fireworks of this early batting trophy, we probably wouldn't be marking seven decades since the last .400 season--hitters would try harder. Arguably the most gorgeously crafted presentational piece to derive from our National Pastime's professional ranks, the listed sterling silver masterpiece was awarded to Boston Beaneaters middle infielder Sam Wise, who led the team with a .334 batting average, narrowly edging teammate and future Hall of Famer Mike "King" Kelly for the honor. This one-for-three consistency proved to be good enough for fifth place in the 1887 National League rankings, topped only by the Hall of Fame quartet of Sam Thompson, Cap Anson, Dan Brouthers and Monte Ward.
Our skilled Heritage researchers were able to track down an article in the October 18, 1887 issue of The Boston Globe, the local newspaper that honored the best of the Beaneaters, recounting the details of the presentation ceremony. In part:
When Honest Sam Wise took THE GLOBE trophy from Colonel Taylor and contemplated the handsome silver bat as it lay in its silken case, a flush of manly pride swept over his face. He took the long case, and, holding it as he might a good-sized baby, the big short stop said: "Colonel Taylor and Gentlemen--I never made a speech in my life, but this elegant and beautiful emblem ought to inspire me to say something. The trouble is 'I ain't built that way,' but I do want to return my sincere thanks for it, and wish you many prosperous years of life. I wish to express my thanks to the members of the press for many kind favors during the past season. Once more I thank you for this splendid prize and say I shall never forget your kindness."
This magnum opus from an unidentified Boston silversmith owes its basic dimensions to the preferred lumber of the day, measuring a sizable thirty-eight inches in length with the mild tapering typical of 19th century game bats. The similarities end here, however, as the knob, lower and upper barrel provide an intricate garden of flowery relief detailing. Commanding the mid-barrel is a splendid figural of Wise in his narrow-legged batting stance, the word "Boston" clearly etched upon the chest of his collared jersey. At the center of the bat are the elegantly engraved words:
Presented by the Boston Globe to Samuel W. Wise, Champion Batsman of the Boston Base Ball Club, For the season of 1887.
The bat was consigned to Heritage by a descendant of Wise, and makes its hobby debut in this Platinum Night auction. The magnificent relic provides not a single evident dent or scratch to mark its twelve decades of existence, with typical tarnishing the only sign of age. A simple polishing job will instantly restore the bat to its original appearance, but Heritage has chosen to present the lot in its acquired state and leave any such decision up to the lucky victorious bidder.
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2017 June 29 Premium Sportscard Catalog Auction - Dallas