Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Favorite Cards: Baltimore Orioles (NL)

1894 Alpha Photo Engraving #5 - Kid Gleason

First of the American Association, then of the National League, the 19th century Baltimore Orioles team was a force to be reckoned with. Lady luck smiled upon the team after the American Association folded. The Orioles joined the National League in 1892. By 1894, they were on their way to dominating the league.

Starting in 1894, the Orioles finished in first place for three straight years. They were involved in every Temple Cup game, which was the equivalent to the World Series of its day. The end of the season seven game series involved the first and second place teams in the National League. It lasted from 1894 until 1897. The Orioles played in all four series and won the cup in 1896 and 1897.

After a fourth place finish in the 1899 season, despite still being one of the elite clubs, the National League decided to fold the Baltimore Orioles along with three other teams.

Ninety-eight years before Scott Ruffcorn cut short his prom to attend a Topps photo shoot, thirteen of the first place Baltimore Orioles players and their manager were featured in a card set from Alpha Photo Engraving wearing their Sunday best. Ideas aren't really new. They're just recycled.

There's something about the face on Kid Gleason that makes this card stand out from the rest. His connections later to the White Sox as a player, then a manager, cinch this card as a favorite.


ernest said...

That set has reached legendary status. Too bad only one of each is known.

My favorite is the Wilbert Robinson. After all, for a time they named the Brooklyn team after him.

beardy said...

There's a little more to the story than just the NL deciding to fold the Orioles in 1899. There was a lot of greed involved, and needless to say, the city of New York reaped the benefits in the long run. Ever heard of the Yankees? Yeah, you're welcome New York.

If you're at all interested in this era, I recommend the book "Where They Ain't". Gleason is one of the players highlighted.

Great card by the way!

Steve Gierman said...

Those Orioles were known as dirty tricksters and yes, greed played a big part of their demise. The 1901-1902 Baltimore Orioles that eventually became the Highlanders, which are the present Yankees, share the Orioles in name only. The 19th century team has little or nothing to do with the Yankees.

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