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Did you know that Canada’s rural Manitoba province was a beehive of baseball activity in the late 19th century? Neither did we. But according to Scott Taylor’s well-researched book Home Run: A History of the Winnipeg Goldeyes and Canwest Global Park (2005), the region’s first professional league was formed in 1886 by Winnipeg’s top three teams—the Metropolitans, Hotelkeepers and CPR Club. CPR standout J.H. Barnfather took the batting title in that historic inaugural season, and this is his actual one-of-a-kind trophy cup. The award measures 9-1/2" tall and 3-1/4" in base diameter. On the front, a botanical border design encloses the engraved text, "BATTING CHAMPIONSHIP - Won by J.H. Barnfather in Manitoba League 1886." A quaint batting image adorns the reverse. Acknowledgements on the floral-frieze base read, "Presented By D. SMITH - President of the METROPOLITAN BASE BALL CLUB." Overall condition is extremely clean, with a near-pristine interior and very little external handling wear. The luminous surface bears only occasional hints of vintage patina—which, rather than detracting, add eye-appealing visual charm. There is also a slight dip to the front section of the cup rim. Fortunately, the original olive-wreath lid has remained present with the cup and fully intact. Make no mistake: This is an extremely early and important artifact from Canada’s deep-rooted baseball legacy.
Beautiful 1886 Manitoba League Batting Championship Trophy
Click above for larger image.