While continuing to list for sale my collection of old World’s Fair tickets and ephemera, I came upon a pile of items for the New York World’s Fairs of 1939 and 1940. As I had just sold an item from this period to an Australian NYWF fan (there are more of us than you think – and scattered across the globe!) I thought I would concentrate on this area for a spell.
Amongst all the tickets for bus tours, “Time & Space” show, IBM events etc I came across an item which stood out to me as an English baseball fan. It was a card certificate for the 1939 or 1940 World’s Fair Academy of Sport, School of Baseball. It had the Skylon logo, so although it was undated I knew it was from one of those years and not the later 1960s fairs. On the reverse was printed “Student’s Laurel Card” with a laurel wreath and some text explaining how they had obtained the voluntary services of some of the most renowned athletes, coaches and managers in many sports. It also states that one of these cards is issued to every boy (were there no girls about then?) who registers and attends one or more class. The name Christy Walsh, Director of Sports, appears at the bottom.
The card is made out to Gilbert S Bahn of Malverne, New York, and on googling this name I find an obituary from July of this year for a Dr. Gilbert S Bahn (retired engineer and I believe author) of Moorpark, California, but who was born in Syracuse, New York, and didn’t graduate college until 1943 (Columbia University, NY) so there is strong possibility that this is one and the same.
Also of great interest to baseball fans would be the signature of the instructor, one Curt Davis. Anybody who has seen the baseball film “The Rookie” with Dennis Quaid will know it is based on the true story of a man (Jim Morris) who is past thirty before he gets the chance to play in the Major Leagues. Well apparently Curt Davis, a right handed pitcher, didn’t get his chance in the majors until he was thirty but then went on to play thirteen seasons with first the Philadelphia Phillies, then Chicago Cubs, St Louis Cardinals and finally from 1940-46 the Brooklyn Dodgers (which suggests this card was for the 1940 World’s Fair). Davis was twice a National League All Star and pitched for the Dodgers in the 1941 World Series and in all pitched 429 ML games. He died aged only 62 on November 12th 1965 in Covina, California.
So, a real piece of baseball history, and it’s amazing how one small card can lead you on to such a trail of sub stories – and waste a pleasant two or three hours web surfing!
Anyway, back to work now, and all this lovely NYWF ephemera can be found for sale in Reynard Collectables ebay store here. I also have masses of postcards, stamps etc in my Reynard Collectables delcampe store here (pretty boring storefront this one but bear with it – there are 1000s of items for sale!).