NEW YORK – A rare scorecard believed to be one of the oldest-known documents in baseball history is up for auction, and it has a special St. Louis connection.
Leland Auctions, a sports memorabilia auction house based in New Jersey, is taking bids for 1886 World Series scorecard from a Game 4 matchup featuring the St. Louis Browns and the Chicago White Stockings.
The 1880s brought upon some of the first interleague postseason series between the National League and American Association, a matchup first dubbed as the “World’s Series” in 1884. Major League Baseball, however, only recognizes World Series history dating back to 1903, several years after the American Association disbanded and the modern-day American League was formed.
Because of that, nineteenth-century World Series scorecards and programs are considered exceedingly rare. The National Baseball Hall of Fame In Cooperstown, New York, currently does not have a World Series scorecard or program from 1886 or earlier in its collection.
“This is, to the best of our knowledge, the only surviving World Series scorecard/program from 1886 and we cannot recall having seen one that predates it, making it possibly the oldest World Series scorecard/program extant,” says Leland Auctions.
The scorecard was previously cherished by a longtime collector in the St. Louis area who had it for decades. While the scorecard has a few small edge tears and moderate creasing, it is considered to be in good condition.
Adding to its originality, the scorecard includes penciled markings from an 8-5 win for the St. Louis Browns, one of four victories leading to the 1886 World Series championship.
The Browns clinched the title at Sportsman’s Park after six games. Historians say the 1886 title was the American Association’s only undisputed championship over the National League. The St. Louis Cardinals were founded six years later.
“This is an extraordinary World Series scorecard and its status as possibly the earliest-known example makes it one of the most important nineteenth-century baseball pieces we have ever handled,” said Leland Auctions.
After a starting bid of $2,000, the auction price has increased to more than $5,700. The auction ends at 9 a.m. CT on Saturday.
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