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This lot is one of a special offering of 1903 E107 Breisch Williams cards from The Chris Sullivan Collection—click here to read more.
Future Hall of Famer Fred Clarke broke into the majors with a bang, stroking five hits in his big league debut. When team owner Barney Dreyfuss promoted the still-playing Clarke to manage the Louisville Colonels in 1897, Clarke easily handled the added responsibility—and posted an incredible .406 batting average. After the Louisville squad disbanded at the end of the 1899 season, Dreyfuss took Clarke and 13 other Colonels players—including a young Hans Wagner—for his Pittsburgh National League club. One of the premier turn-of-the-century teams, the Pirates played in baseball’s inaugural 1903 World Series, only to be bested by the A.L.’s Boston Pilgrims. (Both Clarke and Wagner eventually claimed their own World Championship when the Pirates outlasted Ty Cobb’s Detroit Tigers in 1909.) Clarke ended his outstanding career with a stellar .316 average, and was one of a handful of players—along with the likes of Delahanty, Keeler, Beckley, McGraw and Young—who were stars for most of the 1890s as well as the first years of the new century.
Graded VG-EX 4 by PSA. One of the hobby’s scarcest cards belongs to the popular Pittsburgh Pirates Hall of Fame player/manager Fred Clarke. The combined census reports for this subject from SGC and PSA reflect less than a half-dozen copies of the super-desirable artifact. Clarke as shown in this depiction is wearing the Colonels cap of the 19th century—advanced enthusiasts familiar with the style will recognize its similarity to Wagner's headgear on the Henry Reccius Cigar trade card. Near-perfect contrast and admirable clarity highlight the card's distinguished and favorably aligned, black-and-white image. Uniformly distributed, clean wear affects the corners to a moderate degree, and the slightly toned reverse carries deep, black print in its, “One of a hundred and fifty prominent Baseball players,” text. A world-class example of the impossibly rare E107 Fred Clarke collectible—regarded by many as his “true” rookie card—in splendid Very Good to Excellent condition.
1903 E107 Breisch Williams Fred Clarke - PSA VG-EX 4 - The Hobby's Highest-Graded Example!
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