American League President Lee MacPhail holds the bat used by Kansas City Royals’ third baseman George Brett during the infamous “Pine Tar Game”. George Brett had hit a two-run home run with two outs in the top of the ninth inning of a game on July 24, 1983 against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Billy Martin protested that there was too much pine tar on Brett’s bat. Existing baseball rules at that time stated that no pine tar should extend more than 17” from the knob of the bat. The pine tar on Brett’s bat was checked against the width of home plate, which is 18” across, and found to be more than the distance allowed from the knob. Home plate umpire Tim McClelland ruled Brett out, resulting on the third out of the inning and ending the game with the Yankees winning, 4-3. The Royals challenged the ruling to MacPhail and MacPhail ruled in the Royals’ favor. The ruling by MacPhail that the pine tar did not help the “distance factor” for the ball, or aided in propelling it over the fence for a home run, therefore the umpires ruling that Brett was out was overturned and the game would be continued from the point that Brett had hit the home run. This original (Type 1) 8”x10” photo includes the Bob Olen-New York Post and date stamps on the reverse.
THE "GOLDEN AGE OF BASEBALL CARDS" PHOTO ARCHIVE: Featuring the Master Photography Collections of Jacobellis, Olen, Barr, Greene and More
Recent meteoric growth in our hobby's "card-used photo" sector can largely be traced to this very archive. When the Type I original photos of Topps/Bowman photographers Bill Jacobellis and Bob Olen first surfaced at auction in 2014, the terminology of "contact proof" was still relatively unknown. Now, any advanced photo collector immediately recognizes the extraordinary quality and value of Jacobellis contact proofs, as evidenced by the $21,500 paid for a 1951 Mickey Mantle rookie photo in our May 2018 auction. Meanwhile, in an earlier sale, Olen's 1965 Topps rookie photo of Joe Namath—described at that time by expert Henry Yee as "the single most important football photograph ever offered"—hit the whopping record total of $66,000. And that marks the fourth time in the past 5 years that a card-used photo has reached such an echelon, with Mantle's 1951 Bowman and 1952 Topps photos selling for $72,000 and $60,000, while a 1933 Goudey Gehrig photo by Charles Conlon likewise garnered $60,000.
Thus, it's with great excitement that we present another selection of offerings from the "Golden Age" archive. Each unique piece in the Bill Jacobellis Collection carries the Jacobellis copyright stamp and has received a Full LOA from PSA/DNA. These contact proofs represent the ultimate in crystal-clear image quality and are essentially the closest thing to the negative itself. Simply put, the contact-proof development process was not employed for everyday news-service photos printed on a tight publication deadline, but rather was reserved for specialized, studio-caliber purposes such as card production by Topps, Bowman and other leading companies. Dimensions are 4x5 and condition averages EX-MT.