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Hal Chase

First Base
  • Series: 1919 Black Sox Scandal
  • City: New York
  • Team: Highlanders
  • League: American League

Harold Homer Chase (1883-1947) may have been among the best first-basemen ever, but his “errors” place him as mediocre at best. His own words are his epitaph: “I am an outcast, and I haven’t a good name. I’m the loser, just like all gamblers are.” A star for the NY Highlanders for the first nine years of the franchise, admired by peers such as Babe Ruth and Walter Johnson, Chase even went on to out-poll dozens of later entrants into the Hall of Fame. Such was his prowess at first and plate. But his compulsion to wager, and the ease of access to illicit betting (the bookies were in the front row) consigned this great player to ignominy.

  • Chase’s spiral from NY idol to deportee from Mexico evidenced his inability to stay straight in an era when the crooked path was wide and inviting
  • Chase was banned from baseball for life by commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis in 1922 for his (unsubstantiated) role in the 1919 Black Sox scandal
  • Despite the controversy that consumed his career, Chase received more HOF votes in 1936 than 18 future HOFers, and more votes in 1937 than 32 future HOFers, but he never appeared on the ballot again

Ed Cicotte

  • Series: 1919 Black Sox Scandal
  • City: Chicago
  • Team: White Sox
  • League: American League

Edward Victor “Knuckles” Cicotte (1884-1969) won 208 games and a World Series with the White Sox in 1917. The Sporting News said in 1918 that “Perhaps no pitcher in the world has such a varied assortment of wares….” But it was Eddie’s first pitch of the 1919 Series that plunked Morrie Rath in the back and signaled the fix was in. No one was ever convicted of the infamous Black Sox scandal but Cicotte, with seven teammates, never played ML ball after his tearful confession following the ’20 season.

  • Cicotte, Shoeless Joe, and other banned Sox players went on to barnstorm under false names
  • His mastery of the knuckleball led to a transformation of his career. His control improved to the point of walking only 89 in 572 innings in 1918/19 combined.

John Clarkson

  • Series: 1880s: Loving Paupers
  • City: Chicago
  • Team: White Stockings
  • League: National League
  • Hall: National Baseball Hall of Fame

John Gibson Clarkson (1861-1909) won 328 games, won the triple crown in 1889 and twice pitched more than 600 innings in a season. In 1885, John appeared in 70 games, threw 68 complete games, 623 innings, won 53, had an ERA of 1.85, a no-hitter, and won the pennant. Apparently having to hurl the sphere a mere fifty feet was a tonic to the arm. But unlike so many pitchers of his era, Clarkson didn’t flame out from such prodigious labor on the mound. From 1885-92 he AVERAGED 36 wins per season and would win 30+ an extraordinary six times. This great career began with the Worcester Ruby Legs in 1882, flowered with Cap Anson’s Sox in ‘84 and fully bloomed in Boston when John followed his ace catcher King Kelly to the Beaneaters in ‘88. League politics that culminated in the Players’ League revolt took a toll on Clarkson’s reputation and sundered his friendship with Kelly as the hurler remained loyal to the Nationals.

  • Cleveland acquired John in 1892 allowing him to team with Cy Young. Chief Zimmer, who caught Young for a decade, proclaimed Clarkson the best he ever saw
  • Elected to Hall of Fame: 1963

Auction History


Old Judge Pose: 78-7

John Clapp

  • Series: Athletic of Philadelphia: 1874
  • City: Philadelphia
  • Team: Athletics (NAPBBP)
  • League: National Association (NAPBBP)

John Edgar Clapp (1851-1904) played for 8 teams and managed 6 over a 12 year span, beginning in the National Association with the Middletown Mansfields in 1872 and ending with the NY Gothams in ’83. Primarily a catcher, Clapp had a career BA of .283. With a lifetime 2,523 ABs, he struck out only 51 times.

  • Was the first player-manager in major league history (1872)
  • Jay Jaffe's JAWS system ranks John as the 88th best catcher in MLB history, just after Bubbles Hargrave and before Ed McFarland
  • Earned the nickname “Honest John” after reporting a bookie’s attempted bribe to local police
  • The 1881 bribe, in current dollars, amounted to @$119,000
  • Fittingly, this Honest John entered police work after retirement from the game and died on the job in his hometown of Ithaca, NY

Auction History

Roger Connor

First Base
  • Series: 1880s: Loving Paupers
  • City: New York
  • Team: Giants
  • League: National League
  • Hall: National Baseball Hall of Fame

Roger Connor (1857-1931) was the home run king of the 19th century, clouting 138 in his 18-year career. His record stood for 23 years after his retirement, until Babe Ruth surpassed him in 1921. Connor anchored first-base for five teams, winning pennants twice with the Giants. His flair for the dramatic was never more evident than when he struck the first-ever major league grand slam with his team down by three with two outs in the ninth. Born in Connecticut, Roger played for local clubs until joining the Troy Trojans in 1880. That NY hamlet witnessed five future Hall of Famers on their squad with Connor playing alongside Dan Brouthers, Buck Ewing, Tim Keefe and Mickey Welch. After moving to the Gothams, the 6’3” Connor inspired owner Jim Mutrie to proclaim the team “my giants!” and a new identity was born.

  • Much more than a slugger, Connor won the NL batting title in 1885 and consistently hit .300+ while exhibiting remarkable speed for a big man (still fifth all-time in triples)
  • Connor lived to see Ruth claim his HR title. It was thought at the time, however, that Connor had hit 131 HRS and Ruth's record was celebrated at 132. Writing for SABR in 1975, John tattersall discovered that Connor had actually hit 138 HRs.
  • Jay Jaffe's JAWS system ranks Connor as the 5th greatest 1st baseman of all-time, just behind Cap Anson and just ahead of Jeff Bagwell
  • Beloved by fans and the baseball press, he had a particularly strong advocate for the Hall in fellow legend, umpire Bill Klem
  • Elected to Hall of Fame: 1976

Auction History


Old Judge Pose: 88-3