Spring Premier Auction 2019

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Among vintage photograph and scrapbook albums from the Golden Era of baseball, this one is right up there at the top, especially if you’re a Dodgers fan who goes back to the team’s roots in Brooklyn. Inside an aged green binder lay an incredible arrangement of 32 original 8” by 10” individual photographs of the 1955-1957 era Brooklyn Dodgers. Even more amazing is the fact that 26 were autographed by the subject during 'Dem Bums final glory years in Brooklyn. Thanks to the diligent efforts of a local Brooklyn deli owner named Abe Myerson, the big league debuts of Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale are wonderfully captured within this collection, as are the final playing years of Pee Wee Reese and Jack Roosevelt Robinson. When Jackie so courageously broke baseball’s color barrier in ’47, he seemed to ignite a newfound spirit within the hallowed grounds of Ebbets Field. ‘Dem Bums (as the front of the binder is labeled in black) went on an unprecedented run of six NL pennants in ten years. In 1955 the Dodgers ended a painstaking stretch of tough luck defeats to the Yankees in the Fall Classic with their first – and only – World Series triumph in Brooklyn. They followed that up with another pennant in ’56 only to fall victim once again to their pinstriped rivals from the Bronx. Following the 1957 season, the team moved to L.A. setting off a slew of community protests, one morbid example of which is covered in this album as well.

Also included within this eclectic collection is a group of 1956 Dodger-related news clippings  (a more organized group is listed in Lot 236) from the Brooklyn Daily as well as dozens of 1957 snapshot photos (approx. 4x6) of local Brooklynites staging a rather comical memorial service to honor the Death of the Bums when they departed west, a testament to the dedicated and community-oriented fan who put the album together decades ago. Most telling are the warm personal inscriptions from so many players showing just how close of a relationship this local businessman had with each one. Abe and his wife Reina got to know Carl Erskine particularly well. The Dodger southpaw even mentions Abe in his 2000 autobiography, Carl Erskine’s Tales from the Dodger Dugout.

On page 74, he writes, “In Brooklyn we were treated in a first-class manner. An example was Abe Myerson, the owner of a neighborhood deli in Bay Bridge. Every time I pitched, win or lose, Abe would appear at my door with two bags of deli groceries.” It was through Erskine that the Myersons – they had five children – were able to get such easy access to the team. He gave them several pieces of memorabilia in the years that followed (see Lot 237). This special album has been a family heirloom for over 60 years, and now the generous deli owner’s son has decided it is time for someone else to enjoy it.

Jackie Robinson and a very young Koufax each personalized their original photos, “To Reina and Abe best wishes” in 7/10 blue ballpoint. Several others provided the same or very similar inscriptions, including fellow Hall of Famers Duke Snider (2, one swinging with auto. on left obscured by dark background and a headshot with enhanced auto.), Pee Wee Reese (2, headshot in blue pen and batting in lighter black ink with longer message), Don Drysdale (enhanced), and Dick Williams, as well as Gil Hodges, Don Newcombe, Carl Furillo, Sal Maglie, Clem Labine, Roger Craig (2, one clean and one enhanced), Don Zimmer (enhanced), Ed Roebuck, Charlie Neal, Junior Gilliam, Don Bessant and Gino Cimoli. Randy Jackson, Ken Lehman, Sandy Amoros and Rube Walker (“Best Wishes”) have each signed without a personal message. Loyal friend of the family, Car Erskine, has signed an original photo in blue with “To my good friends Reina & Abe – Best of luck always” inscribed as well as a color magazine cut-out image of himself in faded black ink with a similar message. There are also six unsigned original photos: Jackie Robinson (following through with bat, Roy Campanella (taking off mask as he eyes a ball overhead), manager Walter Alston (headshot), Newcombe, Furillo and Bessant.

The 8x10 original photos are predominatly team yearbook shots from the waist up of each player (and manager) in their Brooklyn unis. Some are full action shots of players swinging, fielding or posing in various positions. They are mostly in EX to EX-MT condition, with some in better shape than others. The majority of the signatures are done in blue ballpoint pen that averages 6/10 in our book, with some appearing stronger than others depending on the backgrounds. We have left most of the photos as they were presented to us within their original 8.5x11 sleeved album pages. However, some have become loose and were unprotected so we have put those in top loaders. The aforementioned Dodgers fake funeral photos (including one Dodger fan posing as a corpse under a window display case) and ’56 newspaper clippings are positioned in the back of the album, adding a nice personal touch to this treasured collection. We have posted images online of Abe Myerson in front of his Brooklyn deli (named Reina's Delicatessen after his wife), with our consignor appearing in one shot as a young boy. In the window you can see some of the very photos found within this album up on display for local Brooklynites as they pass by.

According to PSA/DNA, four autographs – Drysdale, Zimmer, one Snider and one Craig – have been traced over some years later presumably by someone in the Myerson family; these Dodger greats did originally sign their respective photos in the mid 50’s like the rest. Alston’s autograph in a different color blue pen has been deemed clubhouse/secretarial, but his personal inscription “To Reina + Abe Best always” looks to be in his hand (he must have forgotten to sign his name the first time).
FuLL LOAs for Robinson and Koufax signed photos. All other autographs pre-certified by PSA/DNA.

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