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1909 Antique San Francisco Seals Pcl Baseball Rppc Vintage Postcard 1 Of 4 Known For Sale

1909 Antique San Francisco Seals Pcl Baseball Rppc Vintage Postcard 1 Of 4 Known

Extremely rare postcard issued in 1909 to commemorate the San Francisco Seals' first Pacific Coast League Championship. In addition to being very rare, this is certainly one of the most unusual baseball picture postcards ever created! The postcard features portrait images of sixteen members of the Seals, who, on this postcard, have literally become seals. Each player's photo portrait has been artistically placed upon the respective neck of an illustrated seal, all of which are seen basking on a rock in the San Francisco Bay. The printing in the lower right notes the team, year, and photographer: "The Seals/San Francisco/Copyright 1909/Law Co." The San Francisco Seals were a charter member of the Pacific Coast League, which was founded in 1903. In 1909 the Seals, under the managerial leadership of both Jack Gleason and Dan Long, compiled an amazing record of 132-80 to capture their first PCL Championship in franchise history. That mark also helped solidify the club's status as one of the greatest PCL teams ever assembled. (MILB.com, the official website of minor-league baseball, ranks the 1909 Seals as number seventy-one in its list of the 100 greatest minor-league teams of all time.) According to our research, the Seals official roster in 1909 numbered twenty-six players, including seven of whom later advanced to the Major Leagues: Ping Bodie, Claude Berry, Frank Browning, Joe Corbett, Doc Miller, Tom Tennant, and Rollie Zeider. Since none of the players are identified by name on the postcard, I cannot state with certainty who is represented here; however, one can only assume that if someone went to the trouble to create such a memorable postcard, they would have made sure that the team's top stars were represented. The postcard (5.5 x 3.5 inches) has not been inscribed on the reverse or mailed.


By 1909, the Seals had yet to win their first pennant. However, success was near. Playing a “trimmed down” 212-game schedule, the Seals rolled to the flag with a 132-80, .622 record. The team finished 13.5 games ahead of the Portland Beavers and 51.5 ahead of the last place Vernon Tigers. In the height of the dead-ball era, the team led the PCL with a modest .245 average, also enjoying league-high totals in runs (836), hits (1,685), doubles (292) and stolen bases (349).

The Seals were managed by Danny Long, 42, who had been an outfielder with the Baltimore Orioles of the American Association in 1890 and for his hometown Oakland team in the old California League. He is credited with recommending Frank Chance to Chicago in 1898. Long led the Seals from 1907-13. During the same period, he was also Secretary-Treasurer of the Pacific Coast League, whose office was in San Francisco. After Long left the Seals, he was involved in municipal government work in San Francisco. He also scouted for the Chicago White Sox.

Pitching and defense were the Seals’ strong points in 1909. Frank Browning, a diminutive 5’5”, 28-year-old left-hander from San Antonio, TX, went 32-16, leading the league in wins. He set a PCL record which still stands by winning 16 consecutive games from June 10 to August 12. On July 5, he pitched a 3-0 no-hitter against Sacramento. Browning’s streak ended August 15 when he lost a 2-1 duel to Walter Nagle of Los Angeles, whom he had beaten three days earlier. Clarence (Cack) Henley, a 25-year-old, 6’1” right-hander from Sacramento had a 31-10 record to lead the league in percentage (.736). On June 8, at Oakland’s Freeman Park, Henley pitched the longest shutout in PCL history, besting Jimmy Wiggs 1-0 in 24 innings. The game was played in 3 hours, 35 minutes. Browning played one year in the majors, going 2-2 in 11 games for Detroit in 1910. Henley never made the big leagues, but won 215 games in 11 years in the PCL.

One of the Seals’ pitchers was right-hander Joe Corbett (4-8), younger brother of famed heavyweight boxing champion Gentleman Jim Corbett. Joe also pitched for San Francisco in 1904-05.

At the plate, right fielder Henry Melchior led the league with a .298 average, one of only three times the PCL leader was under .300 (1908-09-10). Third baseman Rollie Zeider hit .289 and led the league in runs (141) and stolen bases (93). He moved up to the White Sox in 1910 to start a nine-year major league career. He is one of only two players to appear with all three Chicago major league teams - the White Sox, Cubs and Federal League Whales. (The other is Dutch Zwilling.)

Left fielder Ping Bodie led the Seals in homers with 10. The next year, he led the minors with 30, a remarkable total for the dead-ball era. He was sold to the White Sox and played nine years in the American League with Chicago, Philadelphia and New York. Bodie was born Francesco Pezzolo in San Francisco. Because of discrimination against Italians at that time, he took the name Bodie for baseball after the town where his father had worked in the gold mines. He was nicknamed Ping because of the sound made when his 52-ounce bat hit the ball.

The team captain was their 35-year-old second baseman, 5’4” Ernest (Kid) Mohler, whose career had begun in 1890. He had played three games in the National League with Washington in 1894. Despite the fact he threw left-handed, Mohler holds the professional baseball career record for most games played at second base (2,871). He is second among minor leaguers in career stolen bases (769). Mohler had a career .264 average, but only hit .193 in 1909, although he bounced back to .282 in 1911. In later years, he was head baseball coach at the United States Naval Academy.

This postcard has been stored for decadesin a postcard/photo album in a smoke-free environment. There are slightly discernible bends at each corner where they were slipped into the photo-holder corners.The lower right hand corner has a slight crease, but you can clearly see the faces of each player.

The reverse side shows some yellowing and small stains, but there is no personal writing. Thepostcard has retained its rigidity, and, overall,I would judge it to be in good to very-good condition given its 104 year age. One of 4 examples known in the hobby.

one known example sold for $1410 in 2011 here:

another known example sold for $1710 here in 2011:

See scan for further information regarding condition. Free shipping included. Payment expected within 4 days of sale end. Thanks for looking!



1909 Antique San Francisco Seals Pcl Baseball Rppc Vintage Postcard 1 Of 4 Known

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