1908 Chicago Cubs Presentation Piece
Appraised Value: $5,000
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (3:41)
Collectibles, Sports Memorabilia
Leila Dunbar Appraisals & Consulting, LLC
GUEST: We were at this estate sale in Highland Park area, and I'd asked the lady there if I could rummage around. I noticed the oak frame, and I proceeded to wipe off the glass. It was quite soiled. And I'd seen some of the artwork here and a portion of a baseball field.
APPRAISER: So what was the princely sum that you paid?
GUEST: She was quite adamant about the price. It, uh... it was $20 firm.
APPRAISER: This is actually what they call a presentation piece. And this was given out to celebrate the fact that the Cubs had won the World Series in 1907 and 1908-- the first team ever to do that. Of course, the World Series started in 1903. This presentation piece is actually a photo of the original Cubs field, which was West Side Grounds. And it shows here all the players from the 1908 team. This was given out to players on the team, and it was given out to executives, so it had to have come down that way. This was the greatest decade that the Cubs ever enjoyed success. They haven't been to a World Series since 1945, and they haven't won since 1908. Everyone knows about Ruth and Gehrig and the Yankees. This team is completely different. They were in the dead-ball era. And they were based on speed, defense and pitching. That's what made them great. It wasn't long balls; it wasn't home runs. That's how they beat the Detroit Tigers in 1907 and '08. Let me tell you a little bit about the cast of characters. The first guy up we have Mordecai Brown. Mordecai was also known as Three Finger, because when he was seven years old, he was at his uncle's farm, and his hand got caught in the corn shredder, and it actually took off his finger right down to the nub here on the second knuckle, and it mashed his thumb. Three weeks later, he was chasing hogs, he fell and broke two other fingers, so his hand was like this. But for him, it was great, because he said he could grip the ball better, and it would dip when he would throw it. He was actually Christy Mathewson's great rival in the early 1900s. He pitched a shutout in the 1907 series, and in 1908, he won twice. So he was a huge component of this team in pitching. Now defense. You may have heard of "Tinker to Evers to Chance." Joe Tinker, shortstop; Johnny Evers, second baseman; Frank Chance, first baseman. They're probably the best-known double-play combination. They redefined defense against bunts, against stolen bases and against the hit-and-run. The funny thing was, they were together for ten years; they did not get along. In fact, Tinker and Evers didn't talk to one another for 33 years after they had an argument in 1905 over cab fare. But Frank Chance went on, and he managed the team and he played. The last player here-- we have John Kling. Not a well-known player. These are all in the Hall of Fame-- Tinker, Evers, Chance in '46 and Mordecai Brown in '48. This guy was the first great Jewish player. In fact many people considered him to be even greater than Hank Greenberg. Fantastic defensive catcher. Threw out Ty Cobb in both series and then quit in 1910, because he won the World Pocket Billiard Championship. So you can see you had a magnificent team here, and their era really ended in 1910 when they lost to the Philadelphia As. As you can see, this is all foxing, and there's paper loss here. My opinion is that you leave it alone unless it goes into the actual figures. Some people would prefer to actually restore it. You can go either way. Value-wise, it's not going to change really one way or the other. But the condition overall does affect it. This is valued at about $5,000.
GUEST: Oh, my. That's... that's... that's shocking. It's amazing.
APPRAISER: But if it were in great condition-- 20 grand.
GUEST: Oh, my gosh.
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