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Herm Doscher

Third Base
  • Series: Pioneer Portraits I: 1850-1874
  • City: Brooklyn
  • Team: Atlantics
  • League: National Association (NABBP)

John Henry “Herm” Doscher, Sr. (1852-1934) was a no-nonsense player from 1872-82 and then umpired for three full seasons. He was not above using force to control unruly players. Herm was embroiled in a dispute with management over a contract that led to his temporary ouster from baseball before being exonerated in court and reinstated. He once recalled his days officiating games: “I’ve got to play ring master, school teacher, poppa, momma, and doctor in every game.”

  • Doscher’s son Jack became the first second-generation major leaguer in 1903
  • As a scout, Herm was credited with discovering Wee Willie Keeler

Auction History

Candy Cummings

  • Series: Pioneer Portraits I: 1850-1874
  • City: Brooklyn
  • Team: Star of Brooklyn
  • League: National Association (NABBP)
  • Hall: National Baseball Hall of Fame

William Arthur Cummings (1848-1924) has a plaque in Cooperstown today, not because of his won-lost record or ERA – both of which were excellent; but primarily because he is credited with inventing the curveball, and was able to throw it effectively under the combat conditions of early baseball. A star for the Brooklyn clubs in the old NABBP in the 1860s, Cummings continued to be effective in the pro era until 1877.

  • Cummings got the idea for the curve from a day at the beach chucking clam shells
  • Once catcher Nat Hicks moved close behind the batter, the curve became a viable pitch
  • Elected to Hall of Fame: 1939

Auction History

Jim Creighton

  • Series: Pioneer Portraits I: 1850-1874
  • City: Brooklyn
  • Team: Excelsiors
  • League: National Association (NABBP)

James Creighton, Jr. (1841-1862) was a star pitcher for the Excelsior of Brooklyn from 1860-62. Widely regarded as the game’s 1st superstar and, perhaps, its 1st martyr. His unique pitching motion propelled him to fame, but his death from a ruptured hernia caused while hitting a home run gave this young man a place in the Pantheon of early greats.

  • John Thorn, official historian of MLB, has called Creighton the “most important player not inducted into the Hall of Fame”
  • Threw baseball’s 1st shutout: 11.8.1860
  • In 1866 baseball made a small contribution to national reconciliation as the Washington Nationals came to Brooklyn for a match. Both clubs retired to the Creighton monument where, per the NY Times, “a silent tear was dropped to [his] memory…”

Auction History

Doug Allison

  • Series: Pioneer Portraits I: 1850-1874
  • City: Cincinnati
  • Team: Red Stockings (NABBP)
  • League: National Association (NABBP)

Douglas L. Allison (1846-1916) helped create the “Dead Ball Era” by cannily moving his catcher position closer to the plate, thus drastically reducing steals. Run production plummeted from 50-60 per game thanks in part to this savvy early player. Doug was present at the creation of professional baseball: an original Cincinnati Red Stocking in the NABBP.

  • Later, Doug starred for the Washington Olympics, inaugurating the National Association (NAPBBP) in 1871
  • He is credited as the 1st professional player to use a glove when he donned buckskin mittens to catch a game for the Cincinnati Red Stockings against the Washington Nationals, 6.28.1870
  • Purportedly made pitchers chase down their own wild pitches
  • Allison was hearing impaired. The Boston Globe reported that Allison suffered his hearing loss during his service with the Union Army during the Civil War.
  • Brother Art Allison was an MLB outfielder over five seasons, 1871-1876
  • Occasionally umpired games from 1872-1875
  • Managed the 1873 Elizabeth Resolutes of the NA to a 2-21 record.
  • Because he played in the second game in MLB history (5.5.1871), he is credited with the 17 other players that day as the 27th player to debut in MLB. (The 18 players in game #1 are all credited as the 9th player to debut in MLB).
  • Died at age 70 en route to his job at the Post Office

These are reportedly Allison's hands after years of catching barehanded:

Auction History

Dave Birdsall

  • Series: Pioneer Portraits I: 1850-1874
  • City: South Bronx
  • Team: Union of Morrisania
  • League: National Association (NABBP)

David Solomon Birdsall (1838-1896) was an outfielder with the Boston Red Stockings of the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players over 3 seasons: 1871-73. Previously, he had played for 4 teams in the National Association of Base Ball Players in the amateur era, beginning with the Metropolitans of NY club in 1858.

  • Part of the 1872 championship team with Al Spalding under player-mgr Harry Wright
  • Per Sporting Life, August 22, 1891: Birdsall “engaged in laying the foundation of Boston’s greatness as a base ball centre.”
  • Birdsall's image appears on what may be the 1st true baseball card, “The Old Man” per REA research

Auction History