Play Ball

A guest post by Webb Howell, FB&C’s publisher

Pete Rose, for all his faults, recognized that “Baseball is a universal language.” The first of April assures us that the language is being spoken again and the first pitches of teams everywhere begin to roll over home plate.
670081.jpgSwann Auction Galleries’ April 8th sale of “Printed & Manuscript Americana” offers several items of baseball interest, including artwork (above) for a cigar box label depicting Hans Wagner. Better known as “Honus” Wagner, the famed shortstop became one of the first five members of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Wagner may be best known for being the face of one of the rarest baseball cards around. A mere 57 cards are known to exist, with sale of the most recent ones toping one, then two, million dollars.

The artwork is watercolor and the pose he strikes is identical to the baseball card. The estimate is $1,500/2,500. Other baseball-related items in the auction also include an 1884 lithograph of vignettes of 12 active players and a group of 30 Hall of Fame player signatures, among them 4 Negro League greats.

LCM small.jpgLCM, the Library of Congress Magazine, also notes the start of baseball season with a feature on “America at Play.” While not specifically about baseball, the article wows the reader with the Library’s tremendous collection of sports holdings, of which they make the undoubtedly truthful claim as being “the most extensive in the country.”

Of particular note is the recent acquisition of recorded sports interviews, among them the Bob Wolff Collection, that dates to the start of his career in 1939. Wolff began as a broadcaster on the Durham, NC, CBS-affiliated station WDNC, while a student at Duke University. Included in this collection are interviews with Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Jackie Robinson, and play-by-play coverage of Don Larsen’s 1956 World Series perfect game. More of the LOC’s baseball collection can be found at: http://www.loc.gov/topics/baseball/

Images: Courtesy of Swann Galleries; Library of Congress.
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