Predating the previously first known Joe McGinnity baseball image by two years is this circa 1892 Krebs (Oklahoma) vs. Ft. Smith (Arkansas) team cabinet. Graded 20 Fair 1.5 by SGC, the gelatin print measures 6-3/8 x 4-1/4” and was produced by R. Johnson of Fort Smith. The 21 year-old future Hall of Famer is pictured with ball in hand standing third front right. Was produced in commemoration of a Krebs vs. Ft. Smith contest which resulted in McGinnity fanning 21 batters while future big league rival Pink Hawley whiffed 24 Arkansans. A pencil inscribed notation on the reverse reads "Frank Barnett, Denison City, Texas Rec./93". Otherwise, the sturdy cabinet is crease-free with a combination of moderate perimeter wear and reverse fingertip impressions. More details on our website.
The 1892 Krebs (Oklahoma) vs. Ft. Smith (Arkansas) was the first duel between Joe McGinnity and Emerson (Pink) Hawley but was far from their last meeting. This amateur rivalry would ultimately carry over to the big leagues as Hawley made his debut for the St. Louis Browns in 1892 while McGinnity ended up making his first appearance for the 1899 Baltimore Orioles.
Had McGinnity shared the same fate as 100 of his coal-mining comrades in 1892, baseball history might never have been the same. McGinnity, an Illinois native, moved to Krebs to work in the mines and narrowly escaped death in the Krebs No. 11 mine on Jan. 7. 1892, according to the work Baseball in Oklahoma.
Oklahoma’s first organized baseball game was played in Krebs on July 4, 1882. However, it was not until McGinnity arrived in the territory that the Krebs team became a force. Rival squads soon sprouted throughout the Indian Territory’s coal country, lining up for a shot at McGinnity and his squad.
Iron Man McGinnity later moved on to play for Brooklyn, Baltimore and the New York Giants. He compiled a 247-144 ledger over ten seasons with a career earned-run average of 2.64. McGinnity passed away in 1929 and was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1946.