|1900 Pirates team photo (sold for $7170 in 2013)|
Honus Wagner starred for the Pirates that year (and many after), appearing front and center in this rare team photo. As runner-ups, I suspect Pittsburgh paid a decent "appearance fee" to the National League champion Superbas, anticipating high public interest in seeing the top two teams face off. (NL champs were crowned by W/L record at the time, so this was considered an exhibition.)
|1900 Brooklyn Superbas team composite (sold in 2010 for $14,400)|
Credit goes to a Retrosheet discussion for finding the original 1900 Pittsburg Press coverage of that series, as Brooklyn won the best-of-5 and its "Punch Bowl" prize.
- Pre-series coverage: Clubs Ready for World's Championship Games
- Pirates Were Outclassed By Champions (Brooklyn wins 5-2)
- Pirates Give The Champions Another Game (Brooklyn wins 4-2, note "champs plunged" sidebar about mid-game betting)
- Phillipe Was Too Clever For Pitcher Howell (Pittsburgh wins 10-0)
- The Punch Bowl Goes To Pitcher Joe M'Ginnity (Brooklyn wins 6-1)
You can find plenty more on pre-World Series champions at Wikipedia, as records stretch all the way back to the 1857 Brooklyn Atlantics, organized baseball's first title winner, who went 7-1-1 in a season just nine games long.
TRIVIA: The 1870 champion "Chicago White Stockings" later became the Cubs and are the sole original NL franchise to keep both name and location since 1876. (Atlanta's Braves, the other founding member, have moved twice since debuting in Boston.)