Love of the Game Auctions Fall, 2018 Catalog

Collection Harry Stovey

T oday’s pro scouts search for “five-tool” athletes – players who can hit for both average and power, run the bases, throw and field. A century before the term was coined, Harry Stovey might have been the game’s first. Born in Philadelphia in 1856, Harry Stowe fell in love with baseball at an early age, and began playing with the Defiance Club of Philadelphia in 1877, under the name Harry Stovey (so his mother wouldn’t read his name in newspapers). He played briefly with the 1877 Philadelphia Athletic team alongside Al Reach and John Ward, and then moved to the New Bedford Clam Diggers of the International Association. In 1880, he followed manager Frank Bancroft to the Worcester Ruby Legs of the National League, where he led the league in both triples and home runs. When the Ruby Legs disbanded, the 26-year-old first baseman joined the Philadelphia Athletics, and became a star, leading the team to the American

Lot 24: 1880s Gilbert & Bacon Cabinet Harry Stovey (Bat At Side - “Obscene Gesture”) - SGC VG 3 Minimum Bid: $1,000.00

Association championship in 1883. That year, he set the single-season record for home runs with 14, while simultaneously being considered the best base-stealer (he was among the first to slide feet-first into the bag, and actually invented sliding pants to protect his legs). That season, his fans presented him with a badge, depicting a baseball diamond with ivory bases. Atop the badge were the words “Home Runs” and “1883,” with space at the top for the number to be filled in later, because his figures were so astonishing for the time. Stovey’s home run prowess was well-documented in Philadelphia newspapers during his time with the Athletics, and he set a career mark in 1889 with 19 home runs (along with 119 runs driven in). His base- stealing numbers were the stuff of legend as well; in 1890 in the Player’s League, Stovey teamed up with outfielders Tom Brown and Hardy Richardson to hit 32 home runs and steal 221 bases for the first place Boston Reds, under manager King Kelly. After 1891, his numbers began to decline, but the damage was done: by the time he retired in 1893, he topped the all-time list with 122 home runs, finishing his career

Lot 25: Spectacular 1937 Connie Mack Handwritten, Signed Letter to Harry Stovey’s Granddaughter Minimum Bid: $150.00

Fall 2018 Premier Auction – Closes November 24, 2018


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