Lot # 150: Circa 1888 San Francisco Haverlys Team Cabinet Card (California League)

Starting Bid: $1,000.00

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Rare cabinet card, circa 1888, picturing 11 members of the San Francisco Haverlys, a California League team. The photograph captures the club in a formal studio setting, with ten of the players dressed in full uniform bearing the team name "Haverlys" across the chest. With the help of baseball historian and facial recognition expert Mark Fimoff we have been able to identify nine of the 11 players pictured (all are listed L to R): Standing - Back Row: George Hanley – Eddie Bennett - Pete Sweeney – (unknown) – Fred Stein – Horatio Lawton. Seated - Middle Row: Lew Hardie – Henry Harris (mgr) – William Incell. Lying- Front Row: Jack Donahue (likely) – unknown. Adding to the appeal of this photo is the fact that six period bats are visible in the photo, as is a baseball held by one of the seated players. The photographer's credit appears in print on the reverse: "W. I. Williams & Co./Photographers/914 Market Street/In Baldwin Hotel Block/San Francisco, Cal." Also on the reverse, written in pencil along the top border, are the names "Geo Hanley" and "McGann." Hanley, of course, is pictured in the photo, but we could not find anyone named McGann on the Haverlys roster during the 1880's (the records from this period are incomplete). It should be noted that even though the California League was a minor-league circuit, both Sweeney and Hardie also played at the Major League level. California League team cabinets from the 1880s are extremely rare and this example is no exception. This is the only example of this particular cabinet photo we have ever offered and we have seen just two other Haverlys cabinets dating from the 1880s (one of which is also featured in this auction). It is both an extremely desirable nineteenth-century baseball cabinet and a historically significant photograph documenting the rich tradition of early professional baseball in California. The photo (6.25 x 4.25 inches), which offers exceptional clarity, displays a few light surface scratches, most of which can only be seen at certain angles. The mount (8.25 x 5.25 inches) displays light foxing and moderate handling wear. Technically in Very Good condition, but closer to Excellent in overall appearance. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open).

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