Rare Springfield Base Ball club card sells for $9,000


SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WWLP) – A never before seen team cabinet baseball card of the 11 members of the 1879 Springfield Base Ball club, including Lipman Pike, sold for $9,000 on Sunday night.

The card sold at Robert Edward Auctions with a starting bid of $5,000 and according to the Robert Edward Auctions website, six bids were placed on the card.

The card pictures each member of the 1879 Springfield Base Ball Club in full uniform and the member’s names as they appear on the card.

  • George Latham first base
  • Fred Goldsmith – Pitcher
  • Lipman Pike – Center Field
  • Robert Ferguson – Shortstop
  • John Cassidy – Right field, Captain, and Manager
  • George F. Baker – Catcher

The Springfield Base Ball club was a minor league club but every player pictured spent time in the Major Leagues at some point. The two players that stand out the most are Lipman Pike and Fred Goldsmith.

Lipman Pike often referred to as the “Iron Batter” was one of the first professional baseball players and the first Jewish one. He was known for being one of the best home run hitters. Pike later played in the National League where he lead the league in home runs in 1877. He was blacklisted from baseball in 1881 after allegedly throwing games. His brother also played briefly for the Hartford Dark Blues in 1877.

Fred Goldsmith, the right-handed pitcher, was a part of the big debate of who invented the curveball him or Candy Cummings.

According to Wikipedia, the knowledge is that cummings is credited for throwing the first known curveball during a game in 1867 in Worcester against the Brooklyn Excelsiors, but Goldsmith’s was the first publicly demonstrated. Sportswriter and Baseball Historian, Henry Chadwick, recorded Goldsmith publicly demonstrating the pitch at the Capitoline Grounds in Brooklyn, New York on August 16, 1870.

According to a release sent to 22News from Robert Edward Auctions, the size and quality of the photo suggest that it was printed specifically for team members and officials, which would explain its rarity and why it isn’t in the Baseball Hall of Fame or the Library of Congress. According to the act of Congress in 1879 the photo was entered into the Library of Congress but research shows there is no copy of the photo there.

The photo was taken by H. Buchholz of Springfield, Mass.

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