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Bill Bradley

Third Base
  • Series: Jim Dandie Feds
  • City: Kansas City
  • Team: Packers
  • League: Federal League

William Joseph Bradley (1878-1954) played third base better than anyone in the new American League until he was slowed by injury in 1906. Having jumped to the junior circuit from the Chicago Orphans in 1901, Bradley set batting and fielding marks for his hometown Cleveland Blues that would only be eclipsed by the likes of Ty Cobb and Home Run Baker. His pinnacle year came in 1902 when he batted .340, scored 104 runs with 39 doubles and 11 home runs, all putting him in the top five or six in the league. Bradley's output declined markedly following his injury-shortened season in '06. He stayed with Cleveland through the 1910 campaign, still playing regularly but seeing a great drop-off at the plate. He went to the International League's Maple Leafs as player-manager in 1911 but returned to the majors as manager for the Brooklyn Tip-Tops in the new Federal League where he put himself in as an occasional pinch hitter.The team's 77-77 record was good for a fifth-place finish. The next, and last, year for the Federal League saw him with the Kansas City Packers where Bill returned to a back-up role at third, playing in about half the club's games. Though known for his excellent fielding, Bradley figured uncharacteristically in a Cleveland no-hitter in 1908. Bob Rhoads hurled the gem but was shocked when he learned the hit he thought he'd surrendered on a grounder to Bradley had been ruled a rare error. His dazzling play at his position was a throwback to the earlier no-glove era as he mastered a bare-handed scoop-and-toss to throw out attempted bunters, per Stephen Constantelos of SABR. His rival as the best third-sacker of that decade, Jimmy Collins of Boston, told an admiring fan: “Well, if I could field and bat like Bradley, I should lay claim to that title myself.”

  • On September 24, 1903 Bradley hit for the cycle in D.C. with 12 total bases
  • Bradley's physical issues in 1906 had been presaged by a mysterious illness in '05 when his average began to drop. An intentional inside pitch from NY's Bill Hogg broke Bill's wrist, the first of a series of injuries that would plague him for the rest of his MLB tenure
  • Hogg removed any doubt about his intention to disable Bradley when he vowed “The big Frenchman (Nap Lajoie) is next on my list.”

Auction History

Jack Burdock

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

John J. “Black Jack” Burdock (1852-1931) began and ended his 18 year career in Brooklyn, first for the Atlantics and retiring from the Bridegrooms (Grooms). Played for the Hartford Dark Blues during their 1st year in the new National League, ‘76, and the next when Hartford became the Brooklyn Hartfords for a year.

  • Sandwiched in between his stints in Brooklyn were 10 years with the Boston Beaneaters
  • Was player/mgr for the Boston Beaneaters’ 1883 pennant winner, leading the club in average at .330
  • One of the best infield defenders of his era, Burdock led the NL in putouts by a 2nd baseman five straight years, 1876-1880
  • Led his league in fielding percentage by a 2nd baseman 6 times
  • Achieved a career .250 batting average with 1,231 hits, 778 runs and 501 RBI

Auction History

Billy Barnie

  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Baltimore
  • Team: Orioles
  • League: American Association

William Harrison Barnie (1853-1900) played catcher/OF for three National Association teams in the 1870s prior to beginning an extensive career as manager. Nicknamed “Bald Billy,” Barnie struck a distinguished pose for the Old Judge photographer during his days with the Orioles, the club he led for nine years. Billy left Baltimore following the 1891 season for a very brief turn with the Senators before managing Louisville and Brooklyn for two years each. Barnie’s frail health felled him a mere two years after his final campaign with the Bridegrooms, dying of pneumonia at age 47.

  • While Mike Scanlon was desperately trying to gain major-league status for his Washington Statesmen in 1885, he publicly engaged Barnie in war of words seeking a contest with the Orioles to prove his team’s mettle. When the match finally occurred, following a wearisome Baltimore road trip, the D.C. lads prevailed 3-2 on May 28. The following year, Scanlon brought his squad into the NL
  • Barnie was a lifelong partisan of the American Association, working hard to reconstitute it. He was mourned as a beloved man who would have had a big impact as the AL was forming

Auction History


Old Judge Pose: 21-1

Ed Bolden

  • Series: Diamond Heads '15
  • City: Darby
  • Team: Hilldale Athletic Club
  • League: Independent

Edward Bolden (1881-1950) was one of the most successful entrepreneurs in black baseball in the early 20th century. Though it sounds dissonant to the contemporary ear, Bolden proudly declared himself a “race man” and boldly promoted his club as one owned and operated by other race men. This was in opposition to overtures and intimidations of white impresarios seeking to horn in on the growing popularity of negro ball in the 1920s. Bolden was always a keen recruiter of talent and his reputation for black-ownership attracted some of the best to his teams including Louis Santop, Smoky Joe Williams and Dick Lundy. Ed cut his showman's teeth with the Hilldale Club of Darby PA, bringing solid management and a zeal for rectitude on and off the field. He banned alcohol and demanded decorum from his players. He even enforced discipline among the fans and brought in security when needed. Conflicts with Rube Foster over accusations of poaching by Bolden, coupled with high operating costs especially for travel, led Bolden to leave the Negro National League for the Eastern Colored League in 1922. The two superstars of black league management faced off in the first Colored World Series in 1924 with Foster's KC Monarchs triumphant. Bolden's squad got revenge the following year.

  • Black teams always ran on a shoestring and as the economy worsened in the late '20s and plunged in the Depression, Bolden left the game temporarily.
  • He returned to lead clubs through the war years and the cusp of integrated ball he earnestly desired to see. He was the last of the breed of early black ownership upon his death in 1950

Auction History

George J. Burns

  • Series: Diamond Heads '15
  • City: New York
  • Team: Giants
  • League: National League

George Joseph Burns (1889-1966) was dubbed by his teammates “Silent George” for his reserved, soft-spoken manner. He might as well have been named “Anonymous George” as one of the greatest outfielders of his generation of whom few remember today. He retired holding records for leading the National League in runs scored five times, a Giants' club single-season record for steals (62) that still stands, and top-ten ranking in games played and games in the outfield in MLB. The Utica native debuted with McGraw's crew in 1911 and George quickly found a home in left at the Polo Grounds, mastering its odd angles and even conquering the dazzling afternoon glares, prompting scribes to dub the area Burnsville. He was one of the first to don sunglasses and his mates later described him as “the 'greatest sun fielder' in the history of the game.” Only Rogers Hornsby exceeded George's total bases in 1917 and it wasn't till Willie Mays 53 years later in 1972 that his career stolen base record for the Giants would be eclipsed. His last hurrah in NY was the 1921 Series. The team hadn't won in October since 1905 and George hadn't performed well in his previous attempts at post-season glory. But '21 proved triumphant for Burns and his team as they beat the Yankees in the first Series between teams sharing the same home field. Babe Ruth had been phenomenal in the regular season but was hurt during the post-season and George got to wear the laurel wreath.

  • A renowned amateur boxer and wrestler, the diminutive Burns never backed down from invitations to grapple with his much more physically formidable teammate Jim Thorpe
  • Growing up in his father's pool hall, Burns was a world-class pool player, but teammates wouldn't play with him unless he agreed to play left-handed
  • McGraw traded Burns to the Reds two months after the '21 World Series for Heinie Groh, but the speedy Burns wasn't through. He set an NL record with his 28th steal of home in 1922
  • In fifteen ML seasons, Burns' 2,077 hits produced a .287 career average and only Musial and Hornsby equaled his feat of leading the NL five-times in runs record

Auction History