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Mounted photos were popular in the late 1800s because they offered a large photograph that could be touched up with the look of an expensive decorative artwork. This gold-toned cabinet card -- one of the rarest of all baseball team photos -- had an appropriate subject in one of the most prestigious teams of all time: the 1895 Baltimore Orioles. On their roster were three legendary Hall of Famers -- John McGraw, Wilbert Robinson and Wee Willie Keeler, and three other HOFers in Hughie Jennings, Joe Kelly and Dan Brouthers. As a team , the O's (forerunners of the Yankees) hit .324 and led the NL in pitching, went 90-40 and won the second of 3 straight championships. The shimmering image has McGraw and Keeler in front, below manager Ned Hanlon. The players, wearing their high-button street shoes so as not to damage the carpet under them, are identified with numbers added by hand over their images corresponding to the roster below the picture. The theme of the card is "Champions 1895". Piece is 16 x 19 1/2" and has very visible damage, but the browning only deepens the gold-tone effect. Pieces of the upper and lower right corners have been torn off. Still, the team image is all but unblemished, making this a very rare treasure. Also of note are notations in pencil in the left margin apparently written by a contemporary fan who owned the card, and some cross-out pencil marks at the top. All in all, a magnificent page (or card) from the annals of baseball history.
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