Scarce Harry Wright Autograph and Inscribed Note c.1880-1890, "The Father of Baseball"Certainly one of the most important figures in baseball history, Harry Wright’s contributions to our National Pastime, both on and off the field, place him right alongside Alexander Cartwright and Abner Doubleday as the game’s most noteworthy pioneers.
Hall of Famer Harry Wright (1835-1895) played center field and managed the first professional baseball club, the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings, which went undefeated winning 67 straight games that fabled season. Major league baseball recognized that accomplishment by celebrating the Centennial of Baseball in 1969. This year marks the 150th anniversary of that accomplishment and all major league teams are wearing a commemorative patch on the right sleeves of their jerseys in celebration of that first year of professional baseball. On opening day this season a smaller "150 year" patch was worn on each player's cap. In 1994 asimilar patch was worn celebrating the 125th anniversary; in 1939 the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown was officially opened.
Wright's style of play laid the groundwork for the rules of modern day baseball. Considered "The Father of Professional Baseball" he was an avid scorer and invented the box scoring system. He also designed the standard baseball uniform and was the first to direct defensive shifts in relation to hitters' tendencies.
Despite his indisputable importance to the game, most Hall of Fame autograph collections are missing Wright’s signature. The explanation is simple: his autograph is extremely scarce; he passed away in 1895! Few authentic specimens exist, even fewer in the exalted condition of Mint. Moreover, of the extant Wright autographs known, most are in pencil and not fountain pen ink.
Offered is the finest known Harry Wright autograph, earning the grade of "Mint 9" from PSA/DNA, the hobby's leading authority.
We created a wonderful display of this Hall of Famer's autograph, pairing it with a photo of the visionary during his playing days. Scripted entirely in Wright’s hand in early black fountain ink, it reads,
"Please return to
Mgr. Phila. B. Club
#1941 North 22nd St.
We placed the note in archival mylar for further protection and used ultraviolet-protected plexiglass in this smart wooden frame. The result is an impressive presentation.
In 1884, Harry Wright was recruited to manage the Philadelphia Quakers/Phillies of the nascent National League (formed in 1876). The Quaker-Phillies was perhaps the worst team in baseball. Wright turned them around immediately, and in three short years Philadelphia rose to second place. This rarity derives from his managing days in Philadelphia as inscribed on the note. The writing and signature remain as bold as the day he placed pen to paper, and has been awarded that elusive Mint 9 all collectors search to find.
An extremely important piece of baseball history in the highest grade, it will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of any advanced Hall of Fame collection. Owning an authentic autograph of a player from the famous 1869 Red Stockings team is something very special. That first professional team lives on in baseball lore.