Auction Item Details

Back Lot Number: 1149  

Lot 1149
Description: Extraordinarily significant ledger book regarding the Brotherhood of Professional Base Ball Players from the collection of Tim Keefe c.1885-1889. One of the most historically important pieces of baseball relation to become available to the collecting public. Offered is the original 1885-1889 ledger book kept by Tim Keefe while a member of the New York Giants. On October 22, 1885 Keefe and several of his teammates secretly formed a fledgling organization by the name of "Brotherhood of Professional Base Ball Players". This would begin the era of the players battles with their owners that still remains, in some form, to date. The initial pages of the ledger list the names and addresses of the Giants players incl. Ward, Keefe, Connor, and Welch. While clearly Keefe was responsible for most of the writings in the ledger we do not believe that he wrote his own name in the address area which would have constituted an autograph. Following the name listings in the ledger is one of the more substantive pages ever written in baseball history. Due to its significance we have elected to list it in full as follows: "We, the undersigned, professional base-ball players, recognizing the importance of united effort and impressed with its necessity in our own behalf, do form, ourselves this day into an organization to be known as the "Brotherhood of Professional Base-Ball Players." The objects we seek to accomplish are:-To protect and benefit ourselves collectively and individually; To promote a high standard of professional conduct; To foster and encourage the interests of the game of Base Ball." Underneath this breathtaking composition are the signatures of the participating members as follows: John M. Ward, T.J. Keefe, J.J Gerhardt, Wm. Ewing, Roger Connor, Daniel Richardson, Michael Welch, Michael Dorgan, Jas. H. O'Rourke. Each player has signed boldly in period black ink and have written their respective addresses to the right of their signatures. The pages exude importance, equally, between the written words indicating the decision that those few players had made to stand ground against the owners they believed to be tyrants and the sheer rarity in our collecting world of the autographs of the very men who made the decision that date. It is just simply inappropriate to characterize the signatures on the 1885 page as "rare" given the fact that the offered autographs are among a minute quantity of sourced exemplars known to exist. Furthermore, of those few known to exist several of these players (documented examples) are being offered for the first time publicly. The ledger goes on for another (9) pages chronicling the various meetings of the rebellious Brotherhood almost all of which were handwritten by elected secretary Tim Keefe. As such, there exists within these minutes notes (2) additional full name Keefe signatures and approx. (15) instances where "Keefe" is written by Tim Keefe constituting a last name signature. The writings of the minutes are no less interesting consisting mostly of membership approvals with players incl. Brouthers, Glasscock, McGuire, Hanlon, Crane, and Thompson. We strongly advise any seriously interested bidders to personally inquire as to the nature of the other minutes from the meetings but here are a few highlights w/dates: May 11, 1886 "...The treasurer's report was read & accepted with Article 5 section 2 of the contitution was amended making it three blackballs instead of one necessary to defeat a candidate unanimously carried."; Oct 2, 1886 "The disadvantages of the League contract in regard to the players welfare was discussed without definite action."; and Aug. 4, 1887 "The foundation of a new league contract was discussed without action. Also the buying and selling of players." The middle portion of the ledger has blank pages while the end has a few team dues related sheets again written in Keefe's hand. The last entry in the ledger is from 1889, in December of the same year the Player's League was finally formed. Ledger remains in fine overall condition with clean interior pages and intact external covers. Includes LOA from PSA/DNA J.Spence-S.Grad (autographs) and letter of provenance from the Keefe family: EX-MT
Sold For: $90,000.00

Estimated Price: ($30,000.00-$40,000.00)