Born and raised in Philadelphia, shortstop Monte Cross spent ten seasons of his 15-year career playing in Philadelphia with the Phillies and Athletics, playing in his hometown between 1898 and 1907. A fan favorite, Cross had a reputation as a hard-nosed, umpire-baiting player, more glove than bat, more hustle than glove. At the close of the 1907 season, which featured a tight pennant race between Philadelphia and Detroit, Cross agreed that his playing career was over, and the city responded by organizing a huge testimonial dinner in his honor at The Majestic Hotel in Philadelphia.
More than 300 ballplayers, executives, sportswriters, prizefighters entertainers and fans filled the banquet hall with speeches and entertainment that extended past midnight. The retiring shortstop was gifted an elaborate set of silverware, and the evening was described by the Philadelphia Inquirer as "the greatest gathering of baseball people on record."
Presented here are a pair of mementos from that evening. First, a 14" miniature wooden bat bears the decal of the Reach Burley "Blue Ribbon" brand of bats. Stamped on the back barrel is text reading as follows:
Sporting Writers Banquet
Given in Honor Of
Feb 24, 1908
The bat is taped at the handle as an authentic bat would be. In excellent condition, the bat retains its original dar, wood tone, some light chipping to the decal and the printing, along with some miles surface abrasions. It appears that a small bit of the tape at the end has been removed, likely just from age-related wear.
Also included is a miniature promotional Reach brand baseball, 2" in diameter with the traditional Reach stamp at the north panel. The sweet spot contains stamping that reads "MONTE CROSS TESTIMONIAL DINNER FEBRUARY 24, 1908." The red-and-blue stitched baseball exhibits heavy toning, with some moderate surface wear and a vertical stain that appears to have been left by a strip of clear tape, which runs from the bottom stitching at the sweet spot, around the ball to just above the Reach logo. Well-worn, the baseball still presents extremely well and is perfectly round and tight.
A seldom-seen pair of promotional items from the testimonial dinner honoring Philadelphia ballplayer Monte Cross.