CONTEST: Name The Player

Wagner PC

Time for a contest.

In our upcoming auction, we’ll be featuring this absolutely spectacular postcard.  It depicts three players, horsing around on the baseball field during Spring Training, an image we feel truly illustrates the ideas behind “Love of the Game.”

The postcard came from Honus Wagner’s estate.  There are handwritten notes underneath the three players – underneath Wagner, it looks to read “Hans.”  Underneath Hall of Fame manager Fred Clarke, it reads “Clark.”

Underneath the guy in the middle, it appears to read “Alpean.”

Some have concluded that the guy in the middle is Dodgers infielder Whitey Alperman.  We struggle with that, because A) the player looks nothing like Whitey Alperman to us, and B) Whitey Alperman was with the Dodgers.  Though the player does have a “B” on his sleeve, and the Brooklyn Dodgers also trained in Hot Springs, Arkansas, where the Pirates trained, we think there’s a good chance he’s wearing a Pirates uniform (the Pirates had a “PBC” logo on their sleeves, for “Pittsburgh Baseball Club.”).

The player looks awfully familiar.  Can you name him?

If you can name him, and provide us with photographic proof, we will give you a TWO HUNDRED DOLLAR credit for spending in our Spring auction.  The rules?  Simple.  A) We have to agree with you.  B) You have to win something in the auction, and we’ll discount your price by $200.  C) You need to be a registered bidder in order to play.  Send your answers with photographic proof to info at loveofthegameauctions dot com. First correct answer wins.

Meanwhile, check out this awesome postcard.

Between 1901 and 1913, the Pittsburgh Pirates spent their spring training weeks in Hot Springs, Arkansas, preparing for each upcoming season.  The team trained and played its exhibition games at Whittington Park, springtime home to several other teams including the Brooklyn Dodgers.

This postcard, featuring Pittsburgh Hall of Famers Honus Wagner and Fred Clarke, flanking an unknown third player, exemplifies all the excitement of spring training.  The happiness in their faces as they horse around for the cameras is a stark contrast the the majority of photos depicting the two Hall of Famers.  Perhaps that’s why this postcard was initially auctioned as part of Honus Wagner’s personal belongings when parts of his estate were sold several years ago.

The medicine ball in the background tipped us off that the photo was likely taken during spring training but it was our stadium expert Tom Daley who was able to quickly identify the ballpark as Whittington Park based on the grandstand behind home plate and the trees on the hill beyond the third base line. The postcard, which is postally unused and displays wonderfully, appears in EX condition save for handwriting on the bottom of the image, identifying the players.

Despite this handwriting, we are unable to identify the player in the center (we are fairly certain he is not Whitey Alperman, as some have speculated).  The uniform could be a Brooklyn or Pittsburgh uniform (the Pirates players had uniforms with a “PBC” logo on the left sleeve).  Regardless, the photo is easily our favorite item in this auction – a picture of three pro ballplayers (including one of the greatest ever), hamming it up for the camera, smiling in anticipation of the upcoming season, truly demonstrating their Love of the Game.

1935 National Chicle Nagurski

1935 Chicle Nagurski FrontThe 1935 National Chicle football set is undoubtedly one of the most popular and certainly one of the most important football sets ever manufactured.  The set contains some of the game’s bigest names, and includes the first card of virtually every key subject in the set.  The issue’s colorful art deco design was typical of the day’s contemporary art, and the popular design was repeated by National Chicle in their “Diamond Stars” baseball set of 1934-36 as well as their Sky Birds cards of 1933.

What makes the 1935 Chicle football set so important, however, is the inclusion of the card we present here: the first card of Hall of Famer Bronko Nagurski.

The 1935 National Chicle Bronko Naguski has been widely established as the most valuable and important football card in the hobby.  Clearly the key to this set, the card achieved this notoriety because it is the first card of the well-known Hall of Famer and famous pro wrestler, and also because it comes from the set’s ultra-scarce high number series.  There is no question that this is the most important and highly sought-after football card in existence.

Presented here is a clean, midgrade example of the card, boasting strong color and image clarity.  Slightly off-center from left to right, with pronounced corner wear, the card is accurately graded at this level, yet presents very strongly for the assessed condition.

A 1935 National Chicle Nagurski is an iconic card that transcends the football hobby altogether, taking its place among the most iconic cards in any sport.  One of the most difficult to obtain football cards, mid and high-grade Nagurskis do not frequently change hands; they are very scarce and desirable and the hobby’s best examples are locked up in elite collections.  Rarely does even a midgrade specimen make itself available to the hobby.  One of the most important sports cards this great hobby has to offer.