Trophy presentation is recounted in New York Times article1909 Roger Bresnahan Presentational Loving Cup Trophy. He had been the sturdy foundation upon which the Giants had built their legacy as the premier ballclub of the century's first decade, but with a young Chief Meyers ready to take over behind the plate, and St. Louis Cardinals owner Stanley Robison courting Bresnahan for a managerial role, John McGraw reluctantly approved the trade that would end his star catcher's Polo Grounds tenure prior to the 1909 season. So when the red birds landed in the shadow of Coogan's Bluff for their first visit of the 1909 season, Bresnahan was honored in a pre-game ceremony for his years of essential service to the host team.
An article entitled, "Roger Bresnahan Honored by Fans" tells the tale in the May 25, 1909 edition of The New York Times, reporting the presentation of a massive horseshoe of flowers and a trophy cup described as follows:
"On one side of the largest part of the cup was a picture of Bresnahan; on the other were the words: 'To our pal, Roger Bresnahan, from his New York admirers, Polo Grounds, May 24, 1909.' On top of the cap of the cup was a ball upheld by bats."
The article gets it a bit wrong--the first half of the text appears on the same side as the image of Bresnahan--but otherwise every detail of the presented relic matches perfectly, though the text fails to convey just how large an impressive this token of esteem is. A large wooden base affixed with a figural catcher and two other small emblems concludes the altitude at a lofty thirty-three and a half inches (33.5"), with the handles of the cup extending to a foot in width (12").
A few scattered dents are to be expected after a century of storage in the Bresnahan home, but none are nearly significant enough to provide a true distraction. One winged foot atop a handle has been professionally repaired. It's still one of the most visually arresting relics to emerge from baseball's Dead Ball Era, a treasure crafted from silver with provenance crafted from iron. Letter of provenance from the Bresnahan family.
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