Baseball’s Lost Chalice, Part 3

Part 2 ran in this space previously, and may be linked directly at http://ourgame.mlblogs.com/2011/11/04/baseballs-lost-chalice-part-2/.

This article from the forthcoming Fall 2011 number of Base Ball: A Journal of the Early Game appears here with the courtesy of the publisher. For more information about purchase or subscription, see: http://www.mcfarlandpub.com/baseballsubscriptions.html.

Helen Dauvray returned to the stage in 1890 in The Whirlwind, a play written for her by Sydney Rosenfeld and based on the incidents of a real financial drama in Wall Street a year or two prior. It failed. In 1894 she starred in a “farcical comedy,” That Sister of His, at the Chestnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, with no better results. The itch to appear before the public did not entirely leave until she was 45. On June 29, 1901, The New York Dramatic Mirror ran this rather depressing ad, which at last marked the end of the trail for the actress who had begun her career as Little Nell:

HELEN DAUVRAY
Will Support Male Star, or for Leading Comedy Roles in Productions.
Permanent Address, Lock Box 1479, General Post Office, New York, N. Y.

John Ward never spoke publicly of his dissatisfaction with the marriage. The couple reconciled in Europe in early 1891, but soon broke apart again. (His teammate, pitcher Tim Keefe, who had married Helen Dauvray’s sister, the widow Clara A. Helm, enjoyed better luck with the Gibson clan; that marriage lasted for a while.) When an absolute divorce was decreed on November 30, 1893, the former Mrs. Ward was declared free to marry again—and she did, in 1896 to then Navy Lieutenant and later Rear Admiral Albert G. Winterhalter, alongside whom she is buried in Arlington Cemetery.

Her former husband, however, whose alleged infidelities created the basis of her action, was barred from remarriage during her lifetime. This draconian ruling Ward appealed successfully in 1903, and he made an enduring marriage to Kate Waas of New York.33

In the month before the Wards’ divorce decree was issued, newspapers all across the country ran this small notice:

Boston Defeats All-America.
Kansas City, Mo., Oct. 8.—At the end of the first inning in today’s game between the Boston and All-America teams, the Dauvray cup was formally presented to the Bostons and became their personal property, having been won three times.34

No mention was made of the promised badges for the players on the club that retired the cup; by this time Helen Dauvray Ward had lost interest not only in her husband but also in baseball.

The Bostons, who were custodians of the cup by virtue of their championships in 1891 and 1892, had taken it with them on their final western swing of the season, which commenced on September 11.35 They were coasting to the flag, having torn up the NL in July and August with a record of 40–14. The World Series had died with the failure of the American Association after the 1891 campaign; the Temple Cup, awarded to the winner of a postseason contest between the top two clubs in the sole surviving league, would not be instituted until 1894.

So what happened to the Dauvray Cup after its formal presentation on October 8, 1893? It appears that various Boston players carted it around, as has long been the custom among hockey players with Lord Stanley’s Cup. On November 4, Sporting Life’s Pittsburgh correspondent reported that “Harry Staley is still here, a, guest of Jimmy Galvin. “You can bet Staley is having a good time in Pittsburg. He always has. Staley brought the Dauvray Cup with him. It is on exhibition in a Sixth street show window.” One week later, the same paper reported:

GASTRIGHT’S RETURN.
Cincinnati Welcomes the Once Rejected Pitcher of the Champion Team. Cincinnati, O., Nov. 7. Sir Henri Gastright has returned to his home in Newport across the river after a tour through the West with the Bostons and All-Americas. Sir Henri received a warm welcome from his townsmen, and he promised them a glimpse of the Helen Dauvray cup, and the famous trophy will be exhibited here before the call to duty is heard in the spring.

On November 12 the Boston Globe confirmed that “Henry Gastright, the Boston pitcher, is at his home in Newport, Ky., where he has the Dauvray cup on exhibition.”

This is the last confirmed sighting of the Dauvray Cup, which presumably continued to wend its way circuitously to the offices of the Boston Base Ball Club. I believe it never made it there and was lost along the way. On June 19, 1894, Sporting Life noted: “The Temple cup is now on exhibition in a Fifth avenue store. It is certainly a massive trophy. It is to be hoped that it will not be lugged around as carelessly as the Dauvray cup. By the way, what has become of the latter?”

Notes

33. “The Once Famous Player, Now a Peaceful Lawyer, Makes the Matrimonial Plunge Once More,” Sporting Life: Sept. 26, 1903.
34. E.g., “Dauvray Cup Retired,” Morning Oregonian: Oct. 9, 1893.
35. New York Clipper: Sept. 23, 1893.

4 Comments

This three part article does much to enhance our understanding of the likely motives and machinations behind the very creation of the cup – I guess nothing has changed much in the world of self-promotion in the entertainment industry. Newport, KY is a long way from Boston and one can imagine that it never returned to the care of the Beaneaters. What remains in my view somewhat puzzling is that the cup could not hardly be mistaken for anything unimportant (the images that you provided us are not only spectacular but are in themselves an archival treasure – congratulations). To discard such a stunning cup would most certainly require that the person doing so would not have the slightest interest in the National Pastime. If it went to other than a backyard household dump, it would also require hat the trash-man was as disinterested in baseball or that the trophy was contained in some container or wrappings that rendered it invisible. All that being said, you have at the very least inched us further along the chain of possession and have certainly piqued the discovery gene in a number of your fellow researchers. Thank you.

This ending begs further investigation. Having now seen an image of the the Cup, I think it too ornate to have been accidentially discarded. Perhaps, some determined member of our merry band will follow up on the last leads, which you so generously supplied us.

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