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1917 Claude "Lefty" Williams Chicago White Sox World Series Pin

1917 Claude "Lefty" Williams Chicago White Sox World Series Pin

This fresh find is offered publicly for the first time. There's a world of irony about this hellaciously rare 1917 World Championship pin awarded to White Sox pitcher "Lefty" Williams -- whose next shot at a championship 2 years hence would turn out rather different, and earn him a one way ticket to baseball Palookaville. Williams, of course, was one of the 8 "Black Sox" players involved in the 1919 World Series game-throwing scandal, and had a particularly venal role as he threw all 3 of the games he pitched against the Reds, more than earning his lifetime banning from the game along with "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, Ed Cicotte, Buck Weaver, Swede Risberg, Chick Gandil, Fred McMullin and Oscar Felsch. Things were different in '17. In fact, that was a triumphant year for Williams, who went 17-8 with a 2.97 ERA in the team's 100-54 season -- winning the AL flag by 9 games over the Red Sox. Williams actually only pitched 1 inning of the 6-game Series against the Giants, as nearly the entire load was shared by Red Faber and Cicotte. And perhaps the roots of the "Black Sox" could be traced to that conquest, since the winning-side players took home less than did the losing Giants -- a typical reflection of owner Charlie Comiskey's penury. Williams, for instance, was still making only $3,000 by 1919, far less than most elite pitchers of the era. For the impoverished players, it was a situation that practically drove them into the arms of Arnold Rothstein, though schlemiels that they were, most received far less than promised to throw the Series. And while they were acquitted in court of the charges, they were still tossed out of the game. With this as the background, the '17 championship pin is a font of history, with implications for the game and for the players who accepted them. The 3/4" in diameter solid gold pin -- a rare Comiskey splurge of generosity for his own players -- was crafted with a design that was very influential, later serving as the prototype for the first championship rings that came around in the mid-'20s. Indeed, the central core looks just like that of a ring, with a diamond stone on the "pitcher's mound" of a baseball diamond surrounded by raised letters reading "World Champions 1917." One more outer layer is detailed in laurel leaves. Back of the pin is engraved "Claude Williams" in capital letters. Pin is incredibly pristine for its age, with a few light scars but no visible tarnishing or soiling. EX-MT at the least, and one of the very, very few of these precious pins left that were given in lieu of World Series rings. LOA from the family.

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