Rare CDV capturing 13 members of the 1888 Memphis Grays, including future Hall of Fame pitcher Charles "Kid" Nichols. All of the players are pictured in uniform posing in front of the grandstand. Each player has been identified in print along the base of the mount. Also noted in print on the mount is the year, "1888," team, "Memphis BBC," and photographer, "Gebhardt & Co." The photographer's credit stamp appears on the reverse as well. Interestingly, in addition to Kid Nichols, every other player pictured here spent time in the Major Leagues at one time or another: Jimmy Wood (Mgr.), Davey Force, Jimmy McAleer, Phil Reccius, Joe Crotty, Dick Phelan, John Ewing, John Peltz, Dave McKeough, Wally Andrews, Billy Smith, and Monk Cline. With all that talent, it is not surprising to learn that Mempis was the top team in the league that year, but their season was unexpectedly cut short. In Kid Nichols' own words: "In 1888 I joined the Memphis Team, in the Southern League. Their manager was Jimmy Woods [better known as Jimmy Wood, who had played for and managed Chicago in the National Association]. My first game was an exhibition game against The 'Old St. Louis Browns 4 times winners' I beat them 5 to 3. The Southern League disbanded July 1st with Memphis in 1st Place." Nichols was just 18 years old at the time of this photo and in his second year of professional baseball. As such, it most likely represents the earliest image of him in a baseball uniform. Charles "Kid" Nichols was one of baseball’s first successful power pitchers, finishing his career with 361 wins, a total surpassed by just six pitchers in the history of the game. An immediate success after he was signed by Boston manager Frank Selee in 1890, Nichols won twenty or more games in his first ten seasons in the Major Leagues and led his club to five National League championships. He pitched more than 400 innings five times, and more than 300 in all but one season. His total of seven 30-win seasons is a record that will likely stand forever. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1949. The photo displays paper loss along the left border (not affecting any of the players or text). A few light horizontal and vertical pencil lines traverse both the photo and mount, which are most likely related to the piece having once been used in print. That assumption is confirmed by an editorial notation on the reverse that reads "Make 2 Cols/N.S.>" Also written on the reverse, in black ink, is the name and address of a woman ("Miss Mary Sullivan/730 Mobley Ave"), who was likely a former owner of the piece (she probably lent it out for publication in a newspaper or magazine). Despite the aforementioned flaws, the central team image presents as Excellent and the CDV (4.25 x 2.5 inches) is in overall Very Good condition.
Reserve $500. Estimate (open).