1887 N172 Old Judge Old Hoss Radbourn "Proof" Cabinet Card - Flipping off Camera
Addendum: The catalog copy is incorrect, please refer to the description below:
In 1887 Goodwin & Co. produced this proof card of Hall of Famer ‘Old Hoss’ Radbourn, from his Boston Beaneaters days. This is the very image used to produce his Old Judge cigarette card so popular today! One of the all-time noteworthy players of the nineteenth century, this card pictures Radbourn in his second year with Boston and (of special note) presenting a not-so-subtle obscene gesture with his middle finger. This was not an isolated incident, as Radbourn is credited by many as being the first public figure to be photographed extending his middle digit to the camera (Boston, 1886). In addition to being one of nineteenth-century baseball's greatest characters, he was unquestionably also one of its greatest pitching stars. Many consider him to be the single greatest pitcher of the nineteenth century, compiling a 309-195 career record over eleven seasons (1881-1891). Nicknamed ‘Old Hoss’ for his dependability and endurance, in 1883 and 1884 Radbourn won more games for Providence than four entire NL teams. He made 68 starts in 1883, winning a league-high 49 games, including a no-hitter over Cleveland July 25. The next season, Radbourn completed all 73 of his starts, with 60 wins (a record that stands to this day), 441 strikeouts, and a 1.38 ERA in 678.2 innings. He also won 18 consecutive games that year and pitched 11 shutouts.
This particular example, copyrighted by Goodwin & Co. in 1887, is the proof card used to produce the Old Judge cigarette card so coveted by collectors today. In fact, in a 2017 auction, REA recorded an astounding $9600 for a PSA 1 copy of this card! This example, while technically only grading GD-VG because of corner wear and light surface scuff marks, is one-of-a-kind and presents a particularly clear image of Radbourn, centered only slightly to the right. The reverse has remnants of having been glued into a scrapbook, along with some notations in pencil. This is a magnificent, unique example of an extremely important 19th century Hall of Famer!