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Lot # 173: 1954 First Issue of Sports Illustrated

Starting Bid: $100.00

Bids: 2 (Bid History)

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In 2024, Sports Illustrated magazine will be celebrating its 70th anniversary., and for most sports fans, the magazine seems to have been around forever. Yet, things have to begin sometime, and displayed is a Sports Illustrated First Issue, dated August 16, 1954. The initial Sports Illustrated has 144 pages, not including covers. The cover of this debut issue shows future Hall of Famer Eddie Mathews, the slugging third baseman of the Milwaukee Braves, exhibiting his classically smooth, yet powerful, left-handed swing in a 1954 home game against the New York Giants at Milwaukee's County Stadium. The Braves' migration from Boston to Milwaukee in 1953 touched off a series of franchise moves that forever changed the landscape of baseball. The New York Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers were just two of the teams to change cities during the turbulent baseball of the 1950s, as they moved to San Francisco and Los Angeles, respectively. Ironically, Milwaukee moved again after only 13 seasons in Milwaukee, and after the team's move to Atlanta in 1966, Mathews became the only Brave to play for the team in Boston, Milwaukee, and Atlanta. This first issue makes fascinating reading, with a compelling variety of stories, often written by renowned writers: Red Smith writes about Leo Durocher; Budd Schulberg pleas for great bantams in boxing; Martin Kane and Jerome Weidman report on baseball card manufacturers in a "war" to sign up players for their cards. In addition, as a fabulous bonus, 27 facsimile 1954 Topps baseball cards are printed on a 3-page fold-out, 9 "cards" to a page, in full color and on both sides. These "cards" include Hall of Famers: Jackie Robinson, Ted Williams, Willie Mays, Duke Snider, Larry Doby, and Gil Hodges. The facsimile cards make this offering a prize in itself. The magazine measures 8.25x11.5". A few of the "cards" show some tiny ink smudges near the top, and the pages of the magazine naturally show a slight darkening because of the passage of time. Overall, the magazine is in excellent condition, and its stories, cards, and photos provide a colorful, attractive window in time to baseball in the mid-1950s.

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