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    A staggering assembly of Dead Ball Era legends with Jackson & Cobb!

    1917 Tim Murnane Day "All-Star" Team Photograph from The Stuffy McInnis Collection. Tim Murnane had gotten his start in professional baseball as a member of the 1872 Middletown (CT) Mansfields before six seasons of service to the Major Leagues with the Philadelphia Athletics, the Philadelphia White Stockings, the Boston Red Caps and the Providence Grays. In 1884, he joined with Hall of Fame baseball pioneer George Wright in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to challenge the dominance of the National League with the Boston Reds of the Union Association before transitioning to a thirty-year career as a sportswriter and baseball editor for The Boston Globe. Murnane was honored by the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1978 with the J.G. Taylor Spink Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

    When Murnane suffered a fatal heart attack while attending an opera performance at Schubert Theater in Boston in February of 1917, it was learned that he had left only meager savings from his long baseball career to support his widow and four children from his second marriage. A memorial fund was established, with the support of the American League and the Baseball Writers Association of America, and Murnane's good friend and former Red Sox team owner John I. Taylor began to orchestrate plans for a benefit game pitting his old club against a selection of Major League greats.

    It was late in the 1917 season that the plans came to fruition, on September 27th at Fenway Park. With all teams enjoying an off-day, and both pennant races over, all American League teams but the St. Louis Browns sent players to Boston. Though several National Leaguers were scheduled to attend, ultimately only Braves legend Rabbit Maranville made an appearance. Babe Ruth, Boston's top ace, took the mound for the home team as his future Yankees teammate Urban Shocker helmed the All-Star side.

    A crowd of over 17,000 watched as Ruth blanked the All-Stars by a margin of two to nothing, striking out Ty Cobb in the process. In a pre-game "field day," Ruth won a fungo hitting contest and Joe Jackson, who traveled to Boston with fellow future Black Sox conspirators Buck Weaver and Eddie Cicotte, claimed victory in a throwing contest with a distance of 396 feet.

    With the birth of the All-Star Game still well over a decade away, such a staggering assembly of baseball talent upon a single field simply didn't happen without the kind of tragedy that spawned this benefit and the similar Addie Joss affair that likewise provided the collecting hobby with one of the greatest photographs to emerge from the Dead Ball Era.

    Here's the other one, snapped at Tim Murnane Day and saved for posterity by Philadelphia Athletics first baseman John "Stuffy" McInnis, who appears in the image, and who we suspect inked the names of the men pictured on the back of the cardboard mount as follows:

    Back row: Hughie Jennings (Det), Walter Johnson (Wash), Stuffy McInnis (A's), Steve O'Neill (Cleve), Joe Jackson (White Sox), Ray Chapman (Cleve), Ty Cobb (Det), Buck Weaver (White Sox).

    Front row: Howard Ehmke (Det), Rabbit Maranville (Braves), Connie Mack, standing (A's), Wally Schang (A's), Tris Speaker (Red Sox), Urban Shocker (Yankees).

    The 6x9.5" photo presents flawlessly, with an inscription from McInnis at lower right reading, "From Stuffy to his pal Dick." Also included in the lot are two other photos inscribed to the same gentleman by McInnis, picturing Stuffy with Red Sox teammate Everett Scott between 1918 and 1921, and with a few fellow Braves in either 1923 or 1924. These are likewise mounted on cardboard backings and measure 4.5x6.5" and 6x7.5" respectively. Average EX.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2019
    17th-18th Saturday-Sunday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 736

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