Desireable original news service photo featuring Charles "Victory" Faust, one of the most peculiar and interesting figures of the Deadball Era. Few original photographs of Faust exist in the hobby today and this large 8" x 10" example hails from the lens of Charles M. Conlon himself. Faust is pictured in full windup at Hilltop Park, early in the 1911 season when the Giants shared the New York Highlanders' home for two months.
As the story goes, a 31-year-old Faust approached manager John McGraw in advance of a contest in St. Louis, informing him that a fortune teller's prophecy declared that with Faust on board the Giants would win the 1911 National League pennant. Somehow, Faust won over the superstitious McGraw, becoming the team's defecto mascot while remaining convinced he was destined to pitch the Giants to a pennant. Soon considered the Giants good luck charm, the embarrassingly unathletic Faust became somewhat of a sideshow during pregame activities and continued to warmup in the bullpen daily, believing he would play. Largely due to the clamoring of fans, McGraw eventually relented and allowed Faust to pitch a single inning on October 7, again appearing on October 12 to pitch the final inning of the season. In 1912 the Giants got off to a torrid 54-11 start but John McGraw, who could no longer handle Faust's insistence to pitch, barred him from the team. Faust never returned to the major leagues despite his best efforts to do so, imploring McGraw to reinstates him for the next several years to no avail. Unfortunately, the tale of Victory Faust was largely forgotten for many decades until author Larry Ritter's 1966 book The Glory of Their Times generated new interest. Outfielder Fred Snodgrass described Faust's exploits for Ritter in detail and while he misremembered certain facts, Faust's strange escapades captivated baseball historians and fans once again.
Though the presented photograph suffers from areas of chipping and wear to all four corners it remains a spectacular remembrance of the audacious Faust as he tosses for the cameras. A small area of ink appears under Faust's left arm, likely from another stamped photo being laid on top of this one in a press room. Verso exhibits moderate toning with Charles Conlon's handwritten identification of Charlie Faust at the top and Conlon's personal credit stamp below. An inscription written in ballpoint at the bottom edge reads "Charlie Faust with leg poised in the air. Courtesy of Mike Aronstein of TCMA." Hobby pioneer Mike Aronstein acquired this photo directly from International Boxing Hall of Fame writer, Bert Randolph Sugar in 1980 and was known to have lent photos like this one out for publication throughout the 1980's. Photo is fresh to the hobby and originates from the files of Photo File, Inc. (placed there by Aronstein) where it has been housed for many decades until the time of this sale. Authenticated and encapsulated as a Type 1 photo by PSA/DNA.