Description1908 Reach Monte Cross Retirement Miniature Bat and Ball. From the John Esch collection. Monte Cross played from 1892 until 1907, mainly for his hometown Philadelphia Major League teams, the Phillies and the A's. He was known for his energetic fielding, elaborate moustache, and head-first slides, but not as a particularly gifted hitter. Despite being referred to by writer Ernest Lanigan as "easily the most unpopular player" on the 1902 A's, by 1908, upon retirement, Cross was given a testimonial dinner at Philadelphia's Hotel Majestic. As mementos of this event, a miniature baseball and bat were made in his honor, which are offered here.
The bat, which measures 14 inches in length, is a Reach "Blue Ribbon Burley" model, which features an intact Reach-brand decal, inscription for the event, and period grip tape. It is in wonderful condition for its age. The ball, has a diameter of two inches, red and blue stitching, a Reach brand stamp, and a printed inscription for the banquet. At one point, the ball had adhesive tape attached to it, which has been removed, that removed some of the leather patina of the ball, but overall damage to the leather is minimal. Condition is very fine. A very rare pair of souvenir/salesman sample-sized baseball goods from the Deadball Era.
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