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We have always liked items that tell us about lost chapters of baseball history. When this 1890s Walter Mains Circus ticket (above) came across our desk, it did stop us in our tracks. We’ve never heard of this attraction, or, really, ever heard of any horses playing baseball anywhere ever. Apparently there just aren’t that many baseball-playing horses around. Even according to the Walter Mains Circus they had the “Only Horses On Earth Trained To Play Base Ball.” In 1913 the Barnum & Bailey Circus had their famous baseball-playing elephants, but these are the first horses we’ve seen try their hand (or hoofs, or whatever) at The National Pastime. Judging from the woodcut illustration on the ticket, they were pretty good, but we’re not sure if horses are truly equipped by nature to master the game (you know, the throwing, hitting, and fielding parts). That’s probably why the sport never really took off with horses. This ticket may be the only surviving souvenir that even tells us they gave it a try.
(Notes: The Class D minor league baseball circuit that played from 1939 through 1956 known as The Pony League did not field ponies and is totally unrelated to horses, as is Harry “The Horse” Danning, all-star catcher for the Giants in the 1930s. “The Horse” was just a nickname. He was not a horse.)
We’re very busy working on the spring auction, but we thought this would be a fun and quick item to share that we don’t think anyone has ever seen before.