Mickey Welch

Pitcher
  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: New York
  • Team: Giants
  • League: National League
  • Hall: National Baseball Hall of Fame

Smiling Mickey (1859-1941). An elite pitcher for 13 professional seasons, Welch was the 3rd pitcher to reach 300 wins. Mickey was a 20-game winner 9 times in his career, 7 times in succession. He also won 30+ games 4 times and 40+ games once. Shared pitching duties with HOFers John Ward & Tim Keefe.

  • 1st pinch hitter in Major League history: 9.10.89, when he pinch hit for fellow HOFer Hank O’Day
  • Still holds record for consecutive K’s to start a game: 9
  • Elected to Hall of Fame: 1973

Auction History

Buck West

Outfield
  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Minneapolis
  • Team: Millers
  • League: Western Association

Milton Douglas West (1860-1929) was another in a long line of players who could excel in minor league play but flounder on the big stage. Buck often hit over .300 during his long tenure in professional baseball. He starred in many of the higher circuits including the Northwestern and Tri-State Leagues; and the Western and Southern Associations from 1883-1895. His chances in the majors came twice, first with the Cincinnati Red Stockings of the American Association in 1884 and finally with the Cleveland Spiders of the National League in 1890. Significantly, Buck’s call-ups came when baseball was sifting out its league organizations. The years he played at the top were years a rival third league made overtures to compete. The talent pool was tested and players such as West got rare opportunities to show their mettle. The sturdy outfielder was a big man for his day at 5’10” and 200 lbs, yet he swatted only three home runs in MLB. But one of those was memorable, establishing West as the first in the big leagues to homer in his final at-bat, September 18, 1890 at League Park.

  • Buck’s offensive output for his two seasons: 282 ABs, .245 average with 40 RBI
  • He reached his pinnacle at the plate with the Syracuse Stars in 1891 hitting .339 and leading the Eastern Association

Auction History

Gus Weyhing

Pitcher
  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Philadelphia
  • Team: Athletics (AA)
  • League: American Association

August Weyhing (1866-1955) was a successful pitcher for 11 ML teams over a 14-year career from 1887-1901. A durable hurler, Gus stands 12th in complete games all-time, with 448 in 495 decisions. From 1889-92, Weyhing won 30+ games each year. In a career of firsts and lasts, he pitched the last season of the AA, the first and last of the Players’ League, the 1st year of the AL, and the Senators’ finale in the NL.

  • Was NL saves leader in 1892
  • Struck out 200+ four times and holds the record for hit-batters with 278

Auction History

John Weyhing

Pitcher
  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Philadelphia
  • Team: Athletics (AA)
  • League: American Association

John Weyhing (1869-1890) was signed by the Cincinnati Red Stockings as one of the youngest players in the league at 19 in 1888. In eight games he went 3-4, but had a remarkable 1.23 ERA and completed seven games. He was victimized by poor defensive support: only nine of 26 runs charged were earned. The Columbus Solons bought his contract for ’89 but TB took his health and his life the next year.

  • John’s older brother Gus was also an MLB pitcher
  • Became one of only four big leaguers to die before age 21

Auction History

Harry Whitacre

Pitcher
  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Philadelphia
  • Team: Athletics (AA)
  • League: American Association

Harry Whitacre (aka Whiteacre, Whitaker) is known primarily from photographs: he is depicted on (at least) three 1888 Old Judge cards in an Athletics’ uniform. Harry was photographed batting and throwing right-handed. He is also found in a team photo of the Kennett Square Mohicans of 1886 along with the brothers of future major leaguer Mike Grady and the father of future Hall-of-Famer Herb Pennock. Kennett Square was becoming the “mushroom capital of the world” about the same time the Mohicans were transforming from an amateur club to one of the foremost teams in Pennsylvania in the late 1880s. The Sporting News, in January ‘88, touted “Whiteacre, the Athletics new pitcher” as being “highly thought of by Manager Sharsig.” As with many up-and-coming minor leaguers of the day, Harry’s promise went unfulfilled. He didn’t make the Philadelphia squad.

  • The pose used on this card is one of two recently discovered Old Judge proofs of Whitacre, neither of which are known to have been issued in the original Old Judge series
  • Baseball Encyclopedia records an H. Whitaker pitching one game for Williamsport of the Pennsylvania State Association in 1886, a complete-game win
  • Although the Old Judge series features three known poses of Harry Whitacre, I could not find one of suitable quality for this project. This image is taken from an Old Judge proof taken at the same time as Whitacre's other OJ images and may represent an as-of-yet undiscovered pose.

Auction History

Deacon White

Third Base
  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Detroit
  • Team: Wolverines
  • League: National League
  • Hall: National Baseball Hall of Fame

James Laurie “Deacon” White (1847-1939). Considered the greatest catcher of baseball’s barehanded period (1870s), White eventually moved to 3rd base, played 23 seasons, won 6 championships, and played with a number of the century’s best players on a number of the century’s best teams.

  • 1st person to bat in 1st pro league, in 1871, earning a hit – a double
  • Reportedly believed the earth is flat
  • 2 batting titles; 3 RBI titles
  • Elected to Hall of Fame: 2013
  • Although the Old Judge series features nine known poses of Deacon White (including the McGreachery pose), this photo was taken during the Tomlinson Studio photoshoot of 1886 in Detroit and is not known to exist in the Old Judge series.

Auction History

King Solomon White

Second Base
  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: New York
  • Team: Gothams
  • League: Independent
  • Hall: National Baseball Hall of Fame

King Solomon White (1868-1955). An infielder, manager, executive, sportswriter, and historian, Sol was also influential in establishing the Negro Leagues. Well traveled, White played for 11 different teams over 24 seasons. In 1907, White published the first history of black baseball, Sol White’s History of Colored Baseball.

  • Credited with a lifetime batting average of .356
  • Batted .404 in 1895
  • Elected to Hall of Fame: 2006
  • Sol White did not appear in the Old Judge series. This image is taken from a photo that appears in White's book, Sol White's History of Colored Baseball.

Auction History

Art Whitney

Third Base
  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: New York
  • Team: Giants
  • League: National League

Arthur Wilson Whitney (1858-1943). Art played 3rd base for 8 different teams over 11 major league seasons. A below average hitter, his best year may have been 1886 with the Pittsburgh Alleghenys when he compiled 122 hits, 13 doubles, 4 triples, 15 steals & 70 runs with a light .239 batting average.

  • 2x World Series Champion with the New York Giants: 1888 & 1889
  • Brother Frank Whitney also played professionally: 34 games for the Boston Red Caps in 1876

Auction History

Charles Whitney

Third Base
  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: St. Joseph
  • Team: Clay Eaters
  • League: Western Association

Charles F. Whitney had a least one close relative make it to the major leagues: his brother Arthur, a right-handed 3rd baseman. The Old Judge card on which Charles appears is identified as “G” Whitney, 3B, for the St. Joseph Clay Eaters in 1889. Baseball Reference pegs this Clay Eater as our Charles, also a right-handed third baseman. Charles played exclusively in the minors and founded the Victor Sporting Goods Co. of Springfield, MA. Arthur worked for his brother’s company after retiring from baseball. Victor was later bought out by Al Spalding’s empire. There are intriguing connections between these Whitneys and another from the same era: Jim “Grasshopper” Whitney. Jim played minor league ball in Binghamton, NY in 1878 and was with the San Francisco Knickerbockers in ’80 when he was hired by Boston’s Red Caps. Charles played for the SF club, then the Athletics in 1879, and for Binghamton in 1887-88. Arthur was born in 1858 and Jim was a year older. If Charles was older than Art (he was already in business and hired his brother) that could make Jim his “cousin?” Jim following him by a year to the West Coast. Such speculation is all that remains as we try to piece together data regarding these early pro ball players.

  • Extant info for Charles shows he began pro ball in 1879 with the Omaha Green Stockings and finished with the tantalizingly-named Clay Eaters ten years later

Auction History

Grasshopper Whitney

Pitcher
  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Washington, D.C.
  • Team: Nationals
  • League: National League

James Evans Whitney (1857-1891) was a RHP with the Beaneaters who still ranks 4th in Atlanta franchise history in ERA. “Grasshopper Jim” played 10 seasons for 5 teams, ending his career in 1890 with the Athletics. Incredibly, he led the league in BOTH wins and losses (31-33) in his rookie campaign, leading Boston to the title.

  • Was NL strikeout champ in 1883
  • In 1884 he achieved a rare K to Walk ratio of 10:1 (270-27)
  • Whitney's uniform color on this card was changed in June, 2017 from black to blue to reflect recent reliable research by Craig Brown & friends at Threads of Our Game. Four cards were previously released featuring a black uniform.

Auction History

Ned Williamson

Shortstop
  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Chicago
  • Team: White Stockings
  • League: National League

Edward Nagle Williamson (1857-1894). A 3rd baseman & shortstop for 3 teams over 13 seasons, Ned was an above average hitter & excellent defender (despite his portly physique). Ned held the single season HR record (27 in ’84) until topped by Ruth’s 29 in ’19. Ned’s career was shortened by a knee injury he sustained while participating in Al Spalding’s baseball world tour.

In 1894, the Reach Guide convened a panel of 11 former ballplayers, including HOFer Jim O'Rourke, to debate who was the greatest baseball player of all time. The panel concluded that the honor belonged to Ned Williamson. Cap Anson himself called Ned "the greatest all-around ballplayer the country ever saw."

  • Won 5 NL pennants
  • Played in two World Series
  • Once owned single season doubles record: 49

Auction History

Walt Wilmot

Outfield
  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Washington, D.C.
  • Team: Nationals
  • League: National League

Walter Robert Wilmot (1865-1929) was a switch-hitting outfielder who played for three teams over a ten-season major league career. The high-point of his tenure came in 1894, a wondrous year for hitters in general. The second season after the mound moved to 60' 6'' saw output the likes of which have not been seen before or since. Wilmot far exceeded his normal average, hits and RBI and scored 136 runs - a total that would have placed him in the NL's top-ten any other year of the decade and beyond. But the likes of Hugh Duffy, Billy Hamilton, Joe Kelley and Wee Willie Keeler were setting baseball's world on fire.

That year Hamilton's Phillies fielded the strongest-hitting outfield of all-time, averaging over .400 with sub Tuck Turner exceeding even Billy, Ed Delahanty and Sam Thompson. So where did the mighty slugging Phil's wind up? In fourth place trailing the legendary Orioles by 18 games. But it was in runs-scored that '94 stood out. In most years of the era, one or two teams might barely plate a thousand runners. But in 1894 five teams blew past that mark and four others nearly hit it. Overall, the National League squads averaged an all-time high 7.36 runs per game.

All of this left Wilmot with an outstanding also-ran year for the ages, batting .330 with 197 hits, 134 runs and 130 RBI in just 133 games. Walt broke in with Washington in 1888, spent the first half of the nineties in Chicago and wrapped up with the Giants in 1897-98. He led the NL in triples in '89 and the following campaign tied for the HR lead.

  • Wilmot was the first batter to walk six times in a game (8.22.1891)
  • He played beside Dummy Hoy in D.C.'s outfield
  • In addition to his decade in the majors, Walt played eight minor league seasons beginning with St. Paul in 1886 and ending in Butte, MT of the Pacific National League in 1904
  • His MLB stats include a .276 average with 92 triples

Auction History

Tug Wilson

Catcher
  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Omaha
  • Team: Omahogs
  • League: Western Association

George Archer Wilson (1860-1914) was Brooklyn all the way; born, bred and buried in the beloved borough. So it was fitting that when young Tugembarked on his chosen profession in 1884, he began at the top, with the hometown Atlantics of the American Association. He got into 24 games as a catcher/outfielder and hit what was a very respectable .232 for a backstop in that era. Thereafter, Tug was a stalwart in the heartland of the sport – its minor leagues. He never again saw a big league diamond, but he did see the country. His career lasted through the 1896 season and took him from New Jersey to New England, from Oshkosh to Omaha, from the Northwestern League to the Southern Association. After being an Atlantic he was a Clamdigger, a Domestic, a Giant, a Lamb, a Mountaineer and a Nutmeg. He was a Bingo, a Star, a Bluebird, a Brown and a Cracker. What a collection of uniforms! Tug concluded his pro career in the Virginia League as a Portsmouth Brown. As he was in the twilight of his playing days, he teamed there with about a dozen youngsters who would go on to the majors. It is likely they all heard the stories of how it was back in the day, in Brooklyn.

  • The ’84 Atlantics were named by owner Charles Byrne for the old Nat’l Assoc Brooklyn franchise. The new team struggled to a ninth place finish
  • Tug Wilson did not appear in the Old Judge series. However, this image is taken from an Old Judge proof suggesting that OJ either had intentions of including Wilson or this image represents an as-of-yet undiscovered player & pose.

Auction History

Sam Wise

Shortstop
  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Boston
  • Team: Beaneaters
  • League: National League

Samuel Washington Wise (1857-1910) was a free-wheeling batter and infielder who played hero and goat for the Boston clubs of the 1880s. During his 12-yr career, Wise could play flawlessly afield for weeks at a stretch and then cost his team wins with errant play. Similarly, he could go 8 for 10 at bat and then fan 3 times on nine pitches. Spurning Cincinnati for Boston, Wise was the subject of the first court action in MLB history as the Red Stockings lost their bid to keep him out of Bean Town.

  • Despite his ML-high 88 errors, Wise came through in the clutch for Boston’s 1883 pennant win
  • Career-best year was ’87 when the Boston press ranked him with Cap Anson and Dan Brouthers
  • Played for Connie Mack at Buffalo in ’89 and Mack always remembered him fondly as a “great player”

Auction History

Pete Wood

Pitcher
  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Philadelphia
  • Team: Quakers
  • League: National League

Peter Burke Wood (1867-1923) got into the majors with the Buffalo Bisons in 1885, just in time to join his brother Fred as an early family combo in the big leagues, and rarer still to be teammates. Fred retired after that season. Pete was a native of Ontario Canada and had begun ‘85 with two Hamilton teams just across the river from Buffalo. Wood would shuttle back and forth over Niagara playing for Buffalo’s International League entry in ‘86 and the Hamilton Clippers of the IL and the Hamilton Hams of the International Association through the 1888 season. He got one more call-up with the Philadelphia Quakers in 1889, but saw action in a mere three games where he failed to get a hit but did manage to drive in two runs. Pete returned to Canada for his final seasons with the London Tecumsehs and Toronto Canucks. Throughout his time in pro ball Wood had alternated between pitching and infield/outfield. He was 8-15 with Buffalo in ‘85 and had one stand-out season in the pitcher’s box with the Hams in ‘88, winning 37 and losing 12. He may have hurt his arm in that remarkable year as he rarely pitched again. Nevertheless, his performance undoubtedly gained him that final shot in the majors, but he was only able to win one of his two starts for the Quakers. His victory came against the Indianapolis Hoosiers where Philadelphia won 11-4 beating Charlie Getzien.

  • MLB.com compiled a list: Brothers as teammates in MLB history. They found nearly 100 such duos (including some trios--looking at you Alou and Cruz brothers….) Although the compilation extends into the 19 century, the Wood brothers are absent
  • Baseball Almanac has identified over 350 brother combinations to have made the majors. Perhaps the record goes to the Delahanty clan who put five siblings into the bigs

Auction History

George Wood

Outfield
  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Philadelphia
  • Team: Quakers
  • League: National League
  • Hall: Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame

George “Dandy” Wood (1858-1924). Born on Prince Edward Island in Canada, Wood played 13 professional seasons for 7 different teams. Primarily a left fielder, he served as player/manager for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1891. “Dandy” compiled 1,467 Hits and had a .273 lifetime batting average.

  • 1st Detroit player to hit for cycle: 6.13.85
  • Lead NL in HRs & Triples in 1892
  • The 8th Canadian to reach the majors, Wood was elected to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2011

Auction History

Harry Wright

Manager
  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Philadelphia
  • Team: Quakers
  • League: National League
  • Hall: National Baseball Hall of Fame

William Henry Wright (1835-1895) established professional baseball on the American landscape with his 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings, a team with which he show-cased the game that was to become the true national pastime. His influence on the sport is incalculable. For 25 years Wright led as player, manager, executive, and chief of umpires. Perhaps his greatest contribution was inspiring true team-spirit. He invented such staples as signals, platooning, hit-and-run, communication among players and a nascent farm system.

  • Managed his teams to over 1200 wins, a .581%, winning six championships
  • Elected to Hall of Fame: 1953

Auction History

Chief Zimmer

Catcher
  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Cleveland
  • Team: Blues (AA)
  • League: American Association

Charles Louis Zimmer (1860-1949) was one of the great catchers the game has known. As Cy Young’s receiver from 1890-98, Chief was extolled by the great pitcher as a peerless partner. The two grew up together with Cleveland with Zimmer setting numerous records at his position while guiding the nascent talent that would come to define baseball greatness. Perhaps fittingly, when Young left Cleveland after the ‘98 season, the club let the 38-year-old Zimmer go, too. He was spared the indignity of laboring for next year’s “worst team in history” club that went 20-134. Chief went on to a pennant with Pittsburgh in 1901, catching HOF’er Jack Chesbro. In ‘03 Pirate owner Barney Dreyfuss persuaded Zimmer to move to Philadelphia to manage the Phillies before retiring at 42.

  • Zimmer claimed no Native American heritage. The “Chief” was due to being the team leader on an early club so speedy as to be dubbed “Indians”
  • The Sporting Life wrote in 1890 that Zimmer was one of about 6 major leaguers who abstained from both liquor and tobacco. Despite his aversion to smoking, Zimmer made a fortune selling cigars, spreading his business to every city his ball club visited
  • Was elected 1st president of The Players’ Protective Association – predecessor to the MLB Players’ Association
  • An entrepreneur and wise investor, Zimmer was known to be one of the wealthiest players of his day
  • Zimmer famously invented Zimmer’s Base Ball Game, a mechanical parlor game popular in the 1890s
  • Zimmer's uniform color on this card was changed in June, 2017 from black to blue to reflect recent reliable research by Craig Brown & friends at Threads of Our Game. Six cards were previously released featuring a black uniform.

Auction History