Cooperstown week #1 – Precursors to the World Series

23 09 2012

Just before the move to Chicago this past weekend, my parents came up to visit to see their new grandson.  And my dad and I got an item checked off the proverbial bucket list – we went to Cooperstown.  I’ve been, but Dad hadn’t yet.  I hadn’t been in the 2+ years I lived in New Jersey, so I was really glad to make the 3 hour drive at least one time before we moved – even if it was only a couple of weeks beforehand!

We went to Doubleday cafe for lunch, and then off to the Hall of Fame & Museum right after.  I’m going to veer from baseball cards for a few posts and show off a couple of the things we saw.  I saw a bunch of really cool World Series Items and for my first post I wanted to go through those items chronologically.  I spent some time learning about the Pre-World Series artifacts, so I did a pretty extensive write-up of those to detail what I found.

Precursors to the World Series

1888 Hall Cup

Hall Cup – The oldest still-existing trophy* awarded for baseball’s championship.  It was awarded to the winner of the 1888 World’s Series – one of the precursors to the World Series today.  In the 1888 World’s Series, Jim Mutrie’s New York Giants of the National League defeated Charles Comiskey’s St. Louis Browns of the American Association.  These are two franchises we know today – the San Francisco Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals.

*There is one known trophy that is older than the Hall Cup – the Dauvray Cup, which was donated in 1887 by Helen Dauvray, actress and the wife of the Giants’ John Montgomery Ward.  It went first to the Detroit Wolverines, who beat Comiskey’s Browns that year.  The Dauvray Cup was to be retired permanently after a team won it 3 straight years.  The Giants won the Series in 1888 and 1889, but the Giants were devastated by defections to the Players’ League in 1890 and didn’t defend their crown.  The Players’ League folded after one year, and the American Association folded in 1891.  As there was no series that year and the Boston Beaneaters took the cup as the World’s Champions when they won the 1891 National League title (we now know the Beaneaters as the Atlanta Braves). In 1892, the Beaneaters would go on to play the second place Cleveland Spiders in what was dubbed the “World’s Championship Series”.  Boston won 5-0, beating Cy Young twice in the series, and retained the Dauvray Cup.  They won the pennant the next year, and as there was no Championship Series, they actually retired the Cup formally in a ceremony in October of that year.  It’s not known what happened to the Cup after that.

1888 World’s Series scorecard

1888 World’s Series Scorecard – here’s a scorecard from that World’s Series pitting the Giants and Browns.

1893 Temple Cup

Temple Cup – The Temple Cup was a trophy donated by William Temple, the owner of Pittsburgh Pirates, who finished 2nd in 1893 and wanted a chance to play the pennant-winning Boston club.  The next year, the “World’s Championship” was started up again as the 2nd place Giants (now managed by John Montgomery Ward – though he and Dauvray had divorced by this point) swept the first place Baltimore Orioles in 4 games.  The Orioles again won the pennant but lost this series the next year, losing to Cleveland – this time Cy Young won 3 of the games out of the series.  The third time was the charm – they extracted revenge the next year on the Spiders, who again finished in 2nd place.  And in 1897, they won it again, this time as the 2nd place team, defeating the pennant-winning Beaneaters.  The series didn’t do well, though, and the Cup was returned to William Temple the next year.  Eventually, the Hall of Fame purchased it for display.

1894 Orioles

Orioles 1894 handkerchief - That Orioles team from 1894 which lost the Temple Cup to New York had an artifact at the Museum.  Future Giants manager, the legendary John McGraw, was featured on this – he was the team’s 3rd baseman!

1900 Chronicle-Telegraph Cup

Chronicle-Telegraph Cup – In 1900, Pittsburgh again finished in 2nd place and again wanted a piece of the actual pennant-winners.  This time, it was the Champion Brooklyn Superbas, though, that won the Cup.  There were a few Hall of Famers on these teams, most notably Willie Keeler of Brooklyn (who had been on the Temple Cup Baltimore teams), and Honus Wagner of Pittsburgh – both of whom led their teams in hitting for the series.  Baseball’s original “Iron Man” – Joe McGinnity, was the MVP of the series, throwing 2 complete game shutouts.

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