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    The finest known example of the first World Series program!

    1903 World Series Game Eight Program--Boston Americans (Red Sox) Clinch Championship! The beginning of the relationship had been a contentious one. After a quarter century of unchallenged professional baseball supremacy, the National League quite reasonably considered mere existence of a viable competitor with wary disdain. Tensions grew as American League president Ban Johnson raided the talent pool of the entrenched Senior Circuit, snatching stars from Cy Young to Jimmy Collins and increasing the bargaining power of all National League players, draining black ink from team owners' accounting logs. All agreed that the brash newcomer was a thorn in the side of the National League.

    The first signs of a detente came at the end of the 1902 season, as Pittsburgh Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss agreed to a four-game exhibition series against a cast of American Leaguers, emerging with a two games to one advantage, the other contest ending in a tie. Months later, the leagues signaled a truce with the formation of the National Commission to preside over organized baseball, empowered to hire and maintain umpiring crews, settle labor disputes and ultimately pave the way for the absolute rule of Kenesaw Mountain Landis that would follow the 1919 Black Sox scandal.

    With the warming of baseball's cold war, the stage was set for the inaugural edition of a tradition that would come to be known as the World Series. Presented is one of just a handful of relics to emerge from that first battle between the teams flying the flags of National and American League superiority, thus one of the most significant publications from the full breadth of the baseball collecting hobby. It derives from the third contest of the 1903 World Series, a clash of Dead Ball Era titans that launched the most celebrated tradition of our national pastime.

    The understated design of the program, essentially a standard four-page format with center scorecard and the usual array of local advertisements, speaks to the humble beginnings of the Fall Classic. Only in the bold cover text, "1903 Souvenir Card of the World's Championship Games, Boston vs. Pittsburg," and the twin portraits of dueling Hall of Fame player/managers Jimmy Collins and Fred Clarke, is the elite significance trumpeted.

    The pencil-scored interior allows us to assign the specific vintage of the Series' final contest. Just 7,455 spectators were on hand at Boston's Huntington Baseball Grounds to watch hometown ace Bill Dinneen shut out Pittsburg on four hits, striking out the great Honus Wagner in a perfect ninth inning to drive home the final nail in the Pirates' coffin.

    Nearly eleven and a half decades later, this enormously important relic--arguably the most significant baseball program that exists--offers barely a hint of its advanced age, easily claiming supremacy as the most well-preserved of the tiny handful of programs to survive from this debut Fall Classic. The fact that it is likewise the only known example from the clinching Game Eight is mere icing. Modest spine wear is the only fault worthy of note, as the 8x10.5" relic (unfolded dimensions) is otherwise free of any tearing, creasing or staining. A peerless keepsake for the elite collector.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2018
    24th-25th Saturday-Sunday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 19
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,960

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