Absolutely drenched in fascinating baseball history, this 1919 World Series program is a must for publication enthusiasts. The story of a gambling "fix" of the 1919 World Series is well-known to fans for featuring MLB's most infamous team, the Chicago "Black Sox". This heavily favored team of stars included eight players who were penalized with a permanent ban from baseball for accepting bribes to lose the 1919 Series to the Cincinnati Reds, who were making their first appearance in a World Series.
Issued at Redland Field in Cincinnati, the offered program is a major find loaded with amazing content, including neat pencil scoring of Game 1 results. Per the instructions of mastermind gambler Arnold Rothstein, the scoring grid at center shows Reds lead-off hitter Morrie Rath was hit by a pitch from Sox hurler Eddie Cicotte, indicating to Rothstein that "the fix was on". This incredible firsthand chronicle of the series opening event "tip-off" makes this antique program worth pursuing for that reason alone, however there is much more content of great import to be had.
Presenting as (GD-VG) this fairly solid program boasts excellent cover graphics and supple pages. Expected wear takes the form of light overall soiling on the cover, moderate oxidation on the staples, moderate spine wear including a 1" split at bottom, a period vertical compacting fold at center and a few small and unobtrusive edge tears/creases. Really though, this scarce gameday souvenir remains solid with authentic period appeal.
Detached from the staples, the centerfold page ranks as the most important part of this program, as it features a two-page 1919 Chicago White Sox team photo, including players "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, Eddie Collins, Ray Schalk, "Chick" Gandil, "Buck" Weaver, Eddie Cicotte, "Lefty" Williams, Dickie Kerr, "Hap" Felsch, "Swede" Risberg, Fred McMullen, manager "Kid" Gleason and the rest of the team.
The front cover is titled in full with "Golden Jubilee Cincinnati Reds Champions 1869-1919 Official Souvenir Score Card". Also printed on the front cover is an image of Reds manager Pat Moran, a cover price of "25 Cents", the location "Redland Field" with date "1919" and the event "World Series Games". As mentioned above the two scorecard grids at center are recorded in pencil with results for Game 1 of the Series. Individual photos of Reds players appear throughout the program in groups of four per page. Also worth noting are: a page 9 team photo composite of "Champion Reds of 1869", who racked baseball's only undefeated season, going 65-0 in 1869 as a member of the NABBP, this historic squad is cited as the first all-professional baseball team; a page 12 "Cincinnati Reds Champions 1882, American Association" team photo, referencing the franchise winning of the pennant for the AA's first season of play; a page 33 photo of White Sox owner Charles Comiskey; and a page 5 article regarding the 1869 and 1919 teams.
Quoting Dashiell Hammett's fictional private detective "Sam Spade" as portrayed by Humphrey Bogart, for baseball fans and collectors, this is "the stuff that dreams are made of".