Lot # 87: 1887 Lowell BBC Oversized Photo by Elmer Chickering w/Hugh Duffy (HOF)

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Outstanding team photo originating from the Boston-based studio photographer Elmer Chickering, known among hobbyists for producing beautiful cabinet photos of Boston players.  Presented here is an outstanding team photograph picturing members of the 1887 Lowell Magicians, identified as champions of the New England League.  Framed to a finished size of approximately 26 1/2" x 24", the large-format photograph pictures fifteen members of the team.  The photo itself measures 16 1/2" x 13", mounted to a larger backing, on which the team and its players are identified.  The photo is in wonderful condition, apparent EX/MT with some very light foxing and a tiny tear in the upper edge, mentioned here only for the sake of accuracy.  The mount also appears in outstanding condition, the Chickering logo and address in the bottom left corner.  Note that the framing prevents us from examining the mount or edges of the photo, as is the case with any framed piece.  

Team members are identified as such: TOP ROW (L-R): Hugh Duffy (HOF), Ed Kennedy, Henry Burns, Tim Shinnick, J.P. Sullivan, Louis Guinasso, George Tooling.  MIDDLE ROW (L-R): John Burke, Jim Cudworth, Bill McGunnigle, Pat Hartnett, Bill Sullivan.  FRONT ROW (L-R): Morgan Murphy, Dick Burns, Bill Higgins.

While several members of this team obviously enjoyed major league experience, some even appearing on N172 baseball cards (Duffy, Jim Cudworth and Bill McGunnigle), the key subject here is at the top-left: Hall of Famer Hugh Duffy.  A Boston Sports legend, Duffy came to the Lowell team after his original New England League team folded in July, and batted an incredible .475 with 71 runs scored in just 49 games, helping the team capture the pennant.  His incredible batting resulted in a bidding war that ended with his signing with the Chicago White Stockings, where he would eventually replace Billy Sunday.  He went on to play 17 major league seasons, with a lifetime batting average of .326.  In 1897, Duffy batted an incredible .440, setting the record for single-season batting average, a record that was only bested when major league baseball rightly added Negro League stats to its historical record.  Duffy batted .440 in 539 at bats, a figure that will likely never be bested.

An outstanding 19th Century team photo which includes a Hall of Famer and Boston Sports legend.

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