Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Friday, November 18, 2011

King’s Ransom: Autograph of 19th Century Baseball Icon could fetch 100k

Kelly was the first larger-than-life pro baseball player, and many of the Elks had him autograph their programs as the evening progressed, whiskey flowed and toasts became grandiose…

One of the programs surfaced 124 years later, and it’s in mint condition. Kelly’s autograph is a rarity, and this one is perhaps the most valuable ever for a baseball player.

Many of the programs never even left the building that night. Thoroughly soused, Kelly was loaded into his carriage, normally horse-drawn. But on this night Elks and other admirers lifted the carriage and lugged it through the streets to his home…

Within two years Kelly was the subject of America’s first pop music hit, recorded on a wax cylinder and played on the phonograph Thomas Edison had invented in 1877. The song was titled, “Slide, Kelly, Slide,” which is what fans in Chicago would chant when he flew around bases in his prime. It was sung on stage by dance hall star Miss Maggie Cline and covered by numerous artists as 78 rpm records proliferated in the early 20th century, well after Kelly’s death.

Within four years he was moonlighting as a Vaudeville act, reciting “Casey at the Bat,” often substituting Kelly for Casey. His pet monkey sat on his shoulder and a beer or shot of whiskey was invariably in his hand.

Within seven years he’d drank himself out of the major leagues and was a player/manager for an Allentown, Pa., farm team. After the 1894 season he contracted pneumonia during a boat trip from New York to Boston and died Nov. 8 at age 36, leaving a wife and small child. Legend has it he slipped off a stretcher at the hospital, looked up from the ground and said, “This is my last slide.”

Bourbon Samurai is disturbed by bagel developments Posted: November 18, 2011 at 02:18 PM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, memorabilia

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: November 18, 2011 at 04:59 PM (#3996578)
Kelly’s autograph is a rarity,

Really? Didn't Barry Halper have at least a couple dozen certified authentic ones?
   2. Bourbon Samurai is disturbed by bagel developments Posted: November 18, 2011 at 05:25 PM (#3996614)
Where did he get the monkey, is what I want to know.


This inspired me to look up Kelly on B/R. He was pretty awesome.
   3. Bourbon Samurai is disturbed by bagel developments Posted: November 18, 2011 at 05:28 PM (#3996620)
Also, how fun are his fielding stats? He was an OF/C/3B/2B/SS/P!
   4. The Long Arm of Rudy Law Posted: November 18, 2011 at 06:30 PM (#3996670)
Also, how fun are his fielding stats? He was an OF/C/3B/2B/SS/P!


Obviously he wasn't athletic enough to play 1B.
   5. Der-K: downgraded to lurker Posted: November 18, 2011 at 06:38 PM (#3996675)
King Kelly was awesome. If you've never read about 19th century baseball but are a little curious - check this guy out, he was a serious character.
   6. Bob Evans Posted: November 18, 2011 at 07:13 PM (#3996707)
King Kelly was awesome. If you've never read about 19th century baseball but are a little curious - check this guy out, he was a serious character.

"Kelly now catching!"
   7. winnipegwhip Posted: November 18, 2011 at 07:13 PM (#3996708)
Really? Didn't Barry Halper have at least a couple dozen certified authentic ones?


The best Halper joke I heard was told by Mickey Mantle. After his liver transplant Mantle asked if Halper had his old liver.
   8. Mom makes botox doctors furious Posted: November 19, 2011 at 09:35 AM (#3997110)
Famous last words:

Bill James: "I'm turning out the lights in the basement now, mom."
Bud Selig: "Abner, I'm coming to Cooperstown."
Billy Beane: "I'll see you upstairs, Brad."
Scott Boras: "He doesn't pay you enough, Jesus, but I'll handle it."
Rafael Palmeiro: "I'm sorry Ryne, but she was so hot."
Billy Martin: "This game's complete.."
   9. Greg Franklin Posted: November 20, 2011 at 12:58 AM (#3997554)
For some reason, they 404'd the link. Here it is, long and replanted.

King's Ransom

They bumped the expected value from $100K to $200K.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

News

All News | Prime News

Old-School Newsstand


BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Renegade (((JE)))
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogJosh Hamilton Prepared to Earn Spot on Rangers' Roster
(7 - 1:33am, Jan 19)
Last: Infinite Yost (Voxter)

NewsblogOT - December 2016 NBA thread
(1144 - 1:29am, Jan 19)
Last: Athletic Supporter was shiny, now he's all rusted

NewsblogOTP 16 Jan. 2017: The ‘honor’ Trumps politics in scheduling Cubs’ White House visit
(976 - 1:27am, Jan 19)
Last: Jay Z

Newsblog2017 Baseball Hall of Fame election results | MLB.com
(91 - 1:00am, Jan 19)
Last: Fadeaway: The Baseball History Podcast

NewsblogOn the Polo Grounds: When Fans Were Fans
(17 - 12:53am, Jan 19)
Last: Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams)

NewsblogRelocation Less Common in MLB Than NFL, Other Leagues
(41 - 11:48pm, Jan 18)
Last: Meatwad

NewsblogBraves zero in on Sarasota County for spring training
(10 - 11:18pm, Jan 18)
Last: The Yankee Clapper

NewsblogRyan Thibs has his 2017 HOF Tracker Up and Running
(928 - 11:11pm, Jan 18)
Last: The Yankee Clapper

NewsblogJose Bautista close to signing with Blue Jays | MLB.com
(13 - 11:00pm, Jan 18)
Last: Tin Angel

NewsblogPirates' Bell credits yoga for improved flexibility, weight loss | TribLIVE
(18 - 10:45pm, Jan 18)
Last: Theo^J

NewsblogMatheny: Spring training 'priorities' may look different this year | stltoday.com
(8 - 10:24pm, Jan 18)
Last: cardsfanboy

NewsblogClass of 2017 awaits call from Hall of Fame | MLB.com
(89 - 6:45pm, Jan 18)
Last: Rennie's Tenet

NewsblogOT: Wrestling Thread November 2014
(1797 - 6:06pm, Jan 18)
Last: MHS

NewsblogNON-ROSTER INVITEE THREAD
(12 - 5:27pm, Jan 18)
Last: cardsfanboy

NewsblogRatto- "Hall of Fame voters' biggest issue: Do they work for the job or the sport?"
(11 - 5:06pm, Jan 18)
Last: cardsfanboy

Page rendered in 0.2982 seconds
47 querie(s) executed