An American Hobby: Baseball Memorabilia – ‘The Obscene Gesture Card’
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Friday, February.22, 2013
By Lee Edelstein (‘Baseball Memorabilia Enthusiast’ – visit his website here) Follow @chinmusicstory
MLB Reports: We are pleased to present you with Baseball Author Lee Edelstein as the newest writer with us at the Reports. Lee will be providing us with great stories about baseball memorabilia on a regular basis.
An American Hobby
Only twenty-four players in MLB history have won 300 or more games. It’s a very exclusive club that doesn’t look like it will have any new members for the foreseeable future. Andy Pettitte, with 245 Wins, is the closest active pitcher, but Andy is forty years old and it is doubtful that he will reach or even chase 300. CC Sabathia, age 31, with 191 Wins, Justin Verlander, 29, with 124 Wins, and Roy Halladay, 35, (199 Wins) are potential candidates. Each, though, has a long way to go and history says it doesn’t get any easier.
Allie Reynolds, a great Yankee pitcher, after being roughed up in a game at the end of his career, was asked by a sportswriter if he was throwing the ball as hard as he used to. Allie’s response, “I’m throwing it harder than ever. It’s just taking longer to get there.”
Old Hoss Radbourn Story: 59 in ’84 with Edward Achorn:
Old Hoss Radbourn was one of baseball’s first 300 game winners, having played from 1881-1891. He won 309 games, over a third of them over a two-year period – 48 wins in 1883 and a Major League Record 59 wins in 1884 to lead his team, the Providence Grays, to the World Championship. On his way to winning 59 games, he pitched 678.2 Innings, Struckout 441 batters – and had an ERA of 1.38. How is that possible, you ask? Apparently, the Grays had two primary starting pitchers that season, Radbourn and Charlie Sweeney. On July 22nd, Sweeney started but got so drunk as the game went on that the manager was forced to replace him in the seventh inning, at which point Sweeney stormed off the mound, out of the ballpark, and off the team.
Radbourn offered to pitch the remaining games on the schedule. From July 23 – Sept 24, he started forty of the Gray’s forty-three games, and won thirty-six. But Radbourn wasn’t finished. The Grays played the champions of the American Association, the New York Metropolitans (the other Mets), in the World Series. Old Hoss started and won all three games, allowing three earned runs in the process. What a performance!
While the temptation is to say the game was different back then, no other pitchers at that time came close to putting up Old Hoss Radbourn’s Hall of Fame numbers. Radbourn was such a star that he commanded four cards in the 1887 Old Judge cigarette card series. An irreverent sort, Old Hoss is pictured below in what is known as the “obscene gesture” card. Look closely and see why.
The finest example of this card, it last sold in 2010 for just under $10,000.
Do you have any Old Hoss Radbourn memorabilia – let us know!
(*The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com or their partners*)
A big thank-you goes out to Our ‘Baseball Memorabilia Enthusiast’ Lee Edelstein for preparing today’s featured article. Lee was born and raised in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, New York. He inherited his love of baseball from his dad. The game has been Lee’s constant companion since he was seven years old – when his dad took him to see his first ball game at Ebbets Field. This was followed by a brief and largely unsuccessful Little League career. While he wasn’t all that good on the ball field he became an ALL-Star at collecting baseball cards. His collection is still alive today after surviving many scares over the years. Lee was also much better at business than playing baseball. He was good enough that he was able to retire and pursue his other passion – writing about baseball! Chin Music is his first novel. He is hard at work on his second, Mound Music. You can read a full overview and find links to purchase here and also check out a quick synopsis in the picture below. Feel Free to follow Lee on Twitter and chat about the game of baseball. Follow @chinmusicstory
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Posted on February 22, 2013, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged 59 in '84 Book, @chinmusicstory on twitter, allie reynolds, american association, andy pettitte, baseball hall of fame, baseball memorabilia, cc sabathia, charlie sweeney, edward achorn, justin verlander, lee edelstein, new york mets, new york yankees, old hoss radbourn, old judge cigarettes, old timer committee, providence, Providence Grays, roy halladay. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on An American Hobby: Baseball Memorabilia – ‘The Obscene Gesture Card’.
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