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An ideal (and even more elusive) companion piece to the adjacent Game 1 scored program, this incredible little survivor once granted entry to the historic interleague inaugural between the Honus Wagner-led Pittsburgh Pirates and Cy Young's Boston Americans.
One can only imagine the excitement coursing through the veins of that lucky spectator at Boston's Huntington Avenue Grounds, who bore witness to the first-ever Fall Classic. Chances are, Pirates ace Deacon Phillippe took the mound that day and went the distance, as he did for three out of four games in Boston—plus five of the eight contests that were played in all! Our turn-of-the-century fan may have observed Pittsburgh's Game 1 triumph; Boston's Game 2 revenge with two home runs off the bat of Patsy Dougherty; Phillippe's masterful four-hitter in Game 3; or Boston's Game 8, Series-clinching shutout.
Whichever one of those halcyon October days is represented here, the fact is that the '03 World Series set the stage for the National Pastime as we know it today. If Hoboken's Elysian Fields was the site of competitive baseball's genesis, then the Huntington Avenue Grounds were the location of baseball's rebirth and modernization. What would the Grand Old Game be today without its defining World Series? Without Ruth's "called shot," the 1950s Subway Series, Don Larsen's perfect game, or Kirk Gibson's walk-off home run?
Yes, World Series history begins with this miraculous ticket, which is one-of-a-kind among the dozen or so '03 examples known to exist. Not only does it showcase a more sophisticated design style and an unusually heavy, stiff, dense, almost cabinet-like paper stock (with interesting diecut, curved corners), but it also features the reverse-side signature stamp of Boston's Business Manager Joseph Smart. First revered then reviled, Smart received early credit for helping organize the Series and supervising police security at Huntingdon Avenue Grounds. Later he was lampooned for poor crowd control in Game 3 and widespread ticket scalping in Game 8. Above all else, however, Smart is remembered for his unwielding stance on complimentary tickets, as described by author Fred Lieb in his classic book The Pittsburgh Pirates (1948):
"Joe Smart...made [Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss] pay to get into the Series. Smart also sent no Annie Oakleys (free passes) to the owners of the Boston Nationals, Arthur Soden, J.B. Billings and William Conant. It raised a fuss at the time, though today it is common practice to make everyone but the players, press and radio pay their way into a World Series game. But the idea then was new, and Barney yelled: 'Did you ever hear of such a thing. They make me pay to see my own players."
Based on these historical circumstances and the extremely high production quality, it is likely that this prestigious entrance pass was issued by the Boston Americans' front office to a VIP attendee, though their stature did not exempt them from the obligation by Smart to pay the same 50-cent general-admission price as all others in the bleachers!
Condition of the 3" x 1-7/8" ticket is startling Near Mint with both the pink surface and black ink radiating a fresh and bold appearance save one small blemish on the reverse, where Joseph Smart's stamped imprimatur remains quite readable.