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May 16th- 22nd 2010

Standout items 







....On May 26, 1888, as a senior, he reached the apex of his Yale baseball career by striking out twenty Princeton batters in a game played at Princeton, and allowing only two hits. The accomplishment received wide notice in the new York papers, and set the big league scouts on young Stagg's trail....


click photo

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14" tall x 10 3/4" wide 


1888 Yale  Baseball 

Team Pitcher


August 16th 1862 March 17th 1965

(on right)

And Yale Catcher 

Jesse Chase Dann

Legendary University of Chicago football coach 

One of America's foremost athletics pioneers 

Photgraphed by Pach Bros. of New York

Sold in the March 3rd 2010 Auction for $1,066.50

Lot 181

Overview by 

Carlton Hendricks


I'm not a photo guy really, so a photo has to be quite something for me to be  interested in it. This would be the perfect example. A buddy tipped me off to it in the last Legendary auction, and I thought he was going to bid. I found out after it closed he decided to pass. Had I known I may have taken a swing at it. Particularly now that I see it went for $1,066.50. 


First of all it's Stagg, one of the super-heroes of American sports. I recall early photos of Stagg surfacing, but the format size of this one has me. You've got a very rare, huge 14" tall imperial size, hands down gets no better classic image of one of the greatest pioneers of American sports in a great striped jacket. I could see this at a high brow antiquarian book fair with a huge price tag. 


Below is a rare and interesting look into Stagg's first days at Yale in September 1884, in a personal account he gave. 



"The tuition at Yale then was fifty dollars a term. As a future divinity student I was given an abatement of $20.00. I found an unheated garret room for which I paid one dollar a week. I allowed myself five cents for breakfast, ten cents for the noon meal and five cents for supper. It was a starvation diet and I fell ill for the first time in my life. Chills and fever overtook me on my way to class. There was no college hospital and Jesse Lazier, now of Augusta Ga., led me to his room, put me to bed and called a doctor. The doctor was not long in recognizing a case of undernourishment, and ordered me to drop my nickel and dime meal nonsense. 


I was up again in two or three days and shortly after fell into a job waiting tables for my board in a students dinning club. Most of the boys were from distinguished or wealthy families. Gill and Solley, of Orange, were members and probably I owed the job to their friendship. Harry Beecher, quarterback of the 85, 86 and 87' teams, and a grandson of Henry Ward Beecher; a grandson of Secretary Seward, a grandson of Chief Justice Waite; Henry L. Stimson, later Secretary of War in Taft's cabinet; and J.O Heyworth, who directed the Emergency Fleet's wooden-ship construction program during the war, were other members. I found a few chores to do and my older brother and sisters were able to help a bit for the first time.


The only negative I see for this photo is the corners are rounded from wear. I admit I'm no expert in photos, but in twenty two years collecting I don't recall seeing a 14" tall by 10 3/4" wide cabinet photo like it. You're seeing a legend right at the beginning of what would  be a long life in American athletics; over seventy full years. Stagg was head football coach at the University of Chicago for forty years...repeat...40 years! Sounds almost biblical!


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Amos Alonzo Stagg greeting the

Governor of California at 100 years old


Amos Alonzo Stagg is mostly associated with football beginning at Yale where he played end and was named to the very first All-America team in 1889. Probably less known however, is that he led the Yale baseball team to five consecutive National Championships as pitcher. 





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1886 Team

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1890 Team

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In form

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1887 Team

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1889 Team

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1888 Team


Below is a short comprehensive review of Stagg's Yale baseball career that covers the era of this photo, written by the renown Hearst newspaper reporter Bob Considine in 1962.



"Yale had a strapping big ball player named  Jesse Dann. who likely was the fastest pitcher in college ball. He was the Walter Johnson of the then unchristened Ivy League and few could hit him. But if few could hit him, none could hold him, and there was Yale with an iron-armed pitcher and no catcher. The problem was resolved by making Dann a catcher and Stagg the varsity pitcher.


It was a phenomenal stroke, and Stagg and Dann immediately became the most famous battery in in Eastern college baseball. Lonnie was a spectacular success as Yale's pitcher. In his first year on the varsity he won nine games and lost two, beating Harvard twice, and Princeton twice. He pitched Yale to five successive championships, continuing to be the varsity ace after he was graduated in 1888 thru a year in postgraduate work and a year in the divinity school. In all, he won 34 games, lost eight, and was in one tie. Most satisfying was his remarkable record against Yale's revered rivals Harvard and Princeton. He beat Harvard 15 times while losing only four, and Princeton 14 times while losing three.


On May 26, 1888, as a senior, he reached the apex of his Yale baseball career by striking out twenty Princeton batters in a game played at Princeton, and allowing only two hits. The accomplishment received wide notice in the new York papers, and set the big league scouts on young Stagg's trail. He got offers to play on six National League teams (the American league had not yet come into existence), including one of $4,200.00 a season for three months from the New York Nationals. Stagg turned them all down and said he did so for two reasons: the first was loyalty to Yale, in as much as he would be lost to the team if he played professionally. The second was the then character of professional baseball. Underlying it all, of course, was his true and unswerving love of the amateur game."


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Amos Alonzo Stagg on  

Oct. 20, 1958 cover of Time


The 1940 movie Knute Rockne All American starring Pat O'Brien and a very youthful Ronald Regan has brief real life cameo appearances by football legends Alonzo Stagg, 'Pop' Warner, Howard Jones, and Bill Spaulding. Also keep an eye out for a remarkably older heavier 1940 Jim Thorpe 1888-1953 as he very briefly sticks his head in the locker room to let the team know it's time to come back out for the second half. The scene that Stagg is in, involves a meeting of those top football coaches in which the moral character of football is defended by a rousing speech from Rockne. In the scene Stagg sits at a table, and as I recall he stiffly says a few lines and later stands to applaud Rockne at the end of his speech. Although brief, it's a treat to see Stagg in it since the footage of him is theater quality and you can hear and see a crisp clear image of him, unlike lesser newsreel quality. If you have NetFlix you can watch the movie instantly on your computer. Below is a short video of Stagg on his 95th birthday culled from YouTube.




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