Lending credence to the glaringly obvious statement that baseball has changed from its rustic origins to the theatrical exhibition it has become, this 1884 point-of-sale advertising display portrays pioneer hurler Guy Hecker hawking eponymously named cigars (manufactured by M. Edelmuth). The star of the American Association’s Louisville Eclipse that year, Hecker was a natural spokesperson for anything in Louisville (or in any other town, for that matter) as he logged 52 mound triumphs while completing 72 of his 73 starts! Framed to 11-7/8 x 13-7/8”, the vintage ad reads: “Smoke the best cigar in the city” and features a mounted sepia-toned photo of Hecker with an ornate background design. The all-original piece shows the effects of previous display with moisture-induced discoloration confined to the left border. Incidentally, Hecker retained his “marketing” value for a few seasons, including 1886, when he became the only pitcher in professional baseball history to win a batting title.
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