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Willie Hahm

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

Willie Hahm, also known as “Master Willies,” was a rarity among early baseball mascots. He was white. The youngster, said to have been barely able to talk when first brought to the dugout, was the diminutive talisman for the Chicago White Stockings in the mid-1880s. “The Chicagos have great confidence in him as a promoter of success and make a great fuss over him” said Louisville Colonels manager Jim Hart in one of the earliest interviews explicating the curious role of mascots in America’s game. After triumphing in the 1884 campaign, Hart said the Sox had paraded Hahm at the head of their procession in an open landau. The Chicago Tribune reported on a big match with the rival Wolverines on June 18, 1886. Al Spalding brought a trainload of boosters to Detroit in hopes of preventing the eclipse of Chicago’s record home winning streak. Downtown Motor City was treated to the spectacle of the White Stockings and 200 rabid fans marching from the depot to the Russell Hotel carrying broomsticks with Willie Hahm leading the throng. Later, per the Tribune, “The Chicagos were escorted to the ground by a band, and entered the field behind little Willie Hahm, who carried an immense broom on which were written the words Our Mascot.”

  • Many of the early mascots were black kids dragooned by superstitious players such as NY’s Buck Ewing
  • The first two releases of this card (2016) were errors: Hahm was misspelled as "Hahn"
  • Hahm's uniform color in this card was changed from black to blue in March, 2017 to reflect recent reliable research conducted by Craig Brown and friends at Threads of Our Game. Two cards had been previously released featuring a black uniform.

Auction History

Willie Breslin

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

Master William Breslin was one in a line of NY Giants’ mascots in the 1880s, primarily due to HOF catcher Buck Ewing’s love of “hoodoos.” Superstition is still alive and well in baseball and goes back to its roots. In the old days it wasn’t rally monkeys, tomahawks or Phanatics–it was young boys recruited from the mean streets by ball players desperate for an edge. Lads such as “masters” Bretsie and Preston prowled the NY dugout in 1886, preceded by an unknown “colored boy” that year. Any charm could do, though. Ewing seized variously on a yellow mutt, a ring-tailed monkey named “Mose,” and a toy barking dog. But no mascot seems to have gained the popularity and fame of Willie Breslin.

One of Buck’s proteges was Fred Boldt, a Chicago waif the team picked up on the road. Back in NY, young Fred ran up an account at a diner near the Polo Grounds and absconded with Cannonball Titcomb’s shoes.

  • The Breslin Old Judge cards have become highly prized
  • Sadly, biographical data for Willie and his cohorts is lacking. We trust he turned out better than young Boldt

Auction History