Lot # 54: 1887 N172 Old Judge Charles "Old Hoss" Radbourn (Obscene Gesture) SGC VG/EX 4

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Graded VG/EX 4 by SGC (submitted by REA). 1887 N172 Old Judge example of Hall of Famer Old Hoss Radbourn, Boston (pose #377-1). This is one of the all-time noteworthy cards of the nineteenth century! This card pictures Radbourn in his second year with Boston and of special note, while not formally documented anywhere, he is in fact not-so-subtly giving an obscene gesture with his middle finger. This was not an isolated incident with the tough-as-nails pitching legend. Radbourn is credited by many scholars as being the first public figure to be photographed extending his middle digit to the camera, the earliest example known being a Boston team photo dating from 1886. In addition to being one of nineteenth-century baseball's greatest characters, he was unquestionably also one of the greatest pitching stars of the era. Many consider him to be the single greatest pitcher of the nineteenth century, compiling a 309-195 career record over eleven seasons (1881-1891). Nicknamed "Old Hoss" for his dependability and endurance, in 1883 and 1884 Radbourn won more games for Providence than did four entire NL teams. He made 68 starts in 1883, winning a league-high 49 games, including a no-hitter over Cleveland July 25. The next season, Radbourn completed all 73 of his starts, with 60 wins (a record that stands to this day), 441 strikeouts, and a 1.38 ERA in 678.2 innings. He also won 18 consecutive games that year and pitched 11 shutouts. This card has light wear on the corners, a strong image, and outstanding centering. The reverse is perfectly clean with only a small spot of toning near the bottom (mentioned for accuracy). This is an extremely rare and striking example of this important and fascinating Hall of Famer card. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open).

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