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Bobby Veach

  • Series: Diamond Heads '15
  • City: Detroit
  • Team: Tigers
  • League: American League

Robert Hayes Veach (1888-1925) took over in left field at Navin Field in Detroit on Sept 6, 1912 and held that post until 1924 when the Tigers traded him to the Red Sox. In his decade-plus as wingman to Ty Cobb, along with Harry Heilmann and Sam Crawford, Veach was part of the most potent outfield in history. Many, including Bill James, peg the 1915 Tigers’ outfield the best of all-time. Because he played somewhat in the shadow of these greats, and perhaps because the Tigers never won a World Series, this veteran with a lifetime .310 average and top-of-the-league production at the plate and in left, never made it to Cooperstown. As good as he was before the war years, 1919 was Veach’s pinnacle. He led the AL in hits, doubles and triples. Only Cobb bested his .355 average and only Ruth topped his 101 RBI and 279 total bases. In 1920 Veach became the first Tiger to hit for the cycle. From 1915 to 1922, nobody drove in more runs or had more extra-base hits than Bobby Veach.

  • Playing for the Yankees in his final season, on Aug 9, 1925, Bobby pinch-hit for Ruth, the first time that had happened since Babe left the mound
  • Veach ended his dazzling ML career with pennant-winning Washington that same year

Auction History

William Van Cott

Club President
  • Series: Pioneer Portraits I: 1850-1874
  • City: New York
  • Team: Gothams

William Hathaway Van Cott (1821-1908) reminds us that nostalgia never gets old. In 1854 he wrote a letter to the New York Times that became the Gray Lady’s first reference to the game of “Base Ball.” He emphasized that the game his Gothams and friendly rivals the Excelsiors and Knickerbockers were playing was greatly improved from the “old-fashioned game” of yore; “thoroughly systematized” and played more skillfully. By 1858 he had been chosen the first President of the first official league, the NABBP. Future “Father of Baseball,” sportswriter Henry Chadwick’s first exposure to the game he would bring to national fame occurred in July of ‘58, at the renowned “Fashion Course Games” where Brooklyn’s all-stars vied with NYC’s finest. Justice (16 years on the bench) Van Cott scored that game. William’s brother Thomas was the star pitcher of all the NY clubs in the 1850s and pitched the game. The young NY centerfielder was Harry Wright, a cricketer who would go on to invent professional ball.

  • The jurist would go on to campaign for the elimination of New York gang influence and paid a hefty price: two attempts were made to burn his home. A founding father and courageous public servant

Auction History

Chris von der Ahe

  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: St. Louis
  • Team: Browns (AA)
  • League: American Association

Christian Friedrich Wilhelm von der Ahe (1851-1913) put the beer in the “beer and whiskey league” as the American Association came to be known, perjoratively by National League purists and proudly by the upstart organization’s devotees. Von der Ahe had emigrated from Germany, bringing a zeal for making it big in the New World. His saloon in St. Louis hosted so many baseball fans that Chris decided to buy the bankrupt Brown Stockings. Perhaps recognizing his ignorance of the game, Chris had the sense to hire Charles Comiskey to play and eventually manage the club which went on to a string of pennants from 1885-88. The boss’s meddling hurt (Comiskey left) but his showmanship helped as a carnival atmosphere brought in the “fans” (possibly coined by von der Ahe.) The big, bluff German was always a center of controversy and drama. He lost the team in ‘98 after a ballpark fire following an earlier fire sale of the players to Brooklyn. After a year as the Perfectos, the team would ever after be known as the Cardinals.

  • Von der Ahe was the first to promote baseball to the great unwashed of his adopted country’s midsection, the blue-collar heartland of the game
  • While von der Ahe does have one pose in the Old Judge series, this image was taken from a Guerin Studio cabinet photo

Auction History

Joe Visner

  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Brooklyn
  • Team: Bridegrooms
  • League: American Association

Joseph Paul Visner (1859-1945). An outfielder and catcher over 4 major league seasons for 5 different teams, Visner was one of the few Native Americans to play professional baseball in the 19th century. His best year was 1890 for the Pittsburgh Burghers, when he hit .267, with 22 triples, 76 BB, 71 RBI, and scored 110 Runs.

  • Won a pennant with the Brooklyn Bridegrooms in 1889

Auction History

Farmer Vaughn

  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Louisville
  • Team: Colonels
  • League: American Association

Harry Francis Vaughn (1864-1914). A catcher for 13 professional seasons, Vaughn played for 6 different teams: Cincinnati Red Stockings, Louisville Colonels, New York Giants (PL), Cincinnati Kelly’s Killers, Milwaukee Brewers, & Cincinnati Reds.

  • Amassed 946 hits
  • Compiled a .274 lifetime batting average

Auction History