Rare and historically significant panoramic photograph (37.25 x 7.25 inches) capturing the Cleveland Naps pictured alongside their All-Star rivals at the Addie Joss Benefit Game in 1911, including Joe Jackson, Cy Young, Sam Crawford, Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Nap Lajoie, Tris Speaker, Frank Baker, Eddie Collins, Bobby Wallace, Joe Wood, and Hal Chase.
The Joss Benefit Game, held on July 24, 1911, in Cleveland, was one of the most famous events of the dead-ball era. The game was held to raise money for Addie Joss' family and to pay tribute to the great Cleveland pitcher, who unexpectedly died in his prime on April 14th of that year as a result of severe complications related to meningitis. All regular-season games were canceled to accommodate the scheduling of this historic benefit game, which matched the Cleveland Naps against a team composed of the greatest All-Stars of the American League, including such luminaries as Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Sam Crawford, Frank Baker, and Tris Speaker. Interestingly, Cobb forgot his Detroit uniform for the game, which is the reason he is pictured wearing a Cleveland uniform. The All-Stars were triumphant on that day, defeating Cleveland 5-3.
The Addie Joss Day panorama is considered by most advanced collectors as one of the finest of its kind, both for the historical significance of the event and for the status of the players pictured here. The tradition of an annual All-Star Game did not begin until 1933; dead-ball era photos picturing this many future Hall of Famers and star players posing together are virtually nonexistent. It is also extremely rare, with fewer than ten examples known. The reason for its great rarity is related to its method of distribution. It is believed that these panoramic photos were issued only to participating team member, and probably a few important team or league officials. That assumption is based upon the fact that most of the few examples that have surfaced originate from the estates of participating players, including those of Frank Baker, Joe Wood, Neal Ball, Bobby Wallace, and Addie Joss.
In addition to its rarity, the offered panorama, which displays exceptional clarity, is also one of the finer examples we have seen. The most obvious flaws, which can easily be matted out, are trims to the borders. Along the top there is an area where an eleven-inch segment of the white border has been neatly trimmed away. The right border has also been trimmed, which has resulted in one player (to the right of Eddie Collins) having been removed. The remainder of the border areas display evidence of a minor trim. A few minor border tears and a light vertical crease have been addressed by professional restoration. The piece has been mounted onto a white foam-core backing for preservation purposes. It must be noted that all of the condition anomalies are very unobtrusive and the piece would present close to Near Mint if properly matted and/or framed. This is an exceptional example of this rare photo and just the second we have ever offered. The substantial size/weight of this item requires that there will be an additional shipping charge for this lot. Reserve $10,000. Estimate (open).