Sunday, May 25, 2014

1900 Base Ball World's Championship: Pittsburgh Pirates vs Brooklyn Superbas

I recently covered a 1910 "Most Tied Game Ever" between Pittsburgh and Brooklyn, itself a statistical oddity that wouldn't happen in today's no-tie leagues. But that profile omitted their more significant matchup one decade earlier, as Brooklyn traveled to Pittsburgh for one of the post-season "championships" that presaged our modern World Series.

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.

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.)

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