Eddie Plank - 1909 Philadelphia Caramel (E95)

Edward Stewart Plank (1875-1926) played second fiddle for much of his career, behind the game’s great pitcher s of the time like Washington Senators Walter Johnson, New York highlanders Jack Chesbro, Boston Red Sox Cy Young and his Philadelphia Athletics teammates Rube Waddell and Chief Bender, but in the end retired as the winningest left handed pitcher in Major League Baseball history with 326 career wins and a 2.35 ERA. Though these men were tremendously successful during each of their respective careers, few pitchers of the day consistently matched the durability, reliability and winning touch that Plank possessed. He grew up in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and was later dubbed accordingly as Gettysburg Eddie, but did not begin playing organized baseball until well into his teens. Gettysburg College coach, Frank Foreman, a former player in his own right, asked Eddie to try out for the school’s baseball team even though he was not, nor would he ever be, enrolled in the institution. He did, however, pitch for Gettysburg College despite never going to college. After he signed with the Richmond Colts of the Virginia League, and that league’s subsequent dissolution, Foreman suggested to friend Connie Mack, the owner and manager of the Philadelphia Athletics that he sign the 25-year old left-hander. Mack did just that and Plank debuted for the Athletics on May 13, 1901. That season, Plank went 17-13 with a 3.31 ERA and 28 complete games. The following year, he was instrumental in the Athletics run to win the American League pennant as he went 23-16, leading the league in games (43) and starts (40).

Beginning in his second season with a 20-15 record, Eddie won 20 or more games for the next four years and posted eight years with 20 or better. Plank won a career-high 26 games in 1904 and then in 1905, Plank, Waddell and Bender took the A’s back to the American League pennant, but this time they would face the Christy Mathewson-led New York Giants in the second ever World Series. Philadelphia would lose to the Giants in five games. The two losses Plank suffered during that World Series were less about his pitching, holding the Giants to a 1.59 ERA in 17.0 innings, and more about the lack of offense from his teammates who failed to score a single earned run. Plank was a stalwart in the Athletics rotation for 14 seasons (1901-1914) and helped lead Philadelphia to five American League pennants and the 1911 and 1913 World Series titles. In World Series play, Plank’s record doesn’t reflect his ability as much as it does his teammates failure to score when he took the mound. He posted a 2-5 record with a minuscule 1.32 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 54 postseason innings pitched. Teammate Eddie Collins described the finesse pitcher as, “not the fastest … the trickiest … and not the possessor of the most stuff. He was just the greatest.” Eddie Plank threw with exceptional control highlighted by a powerful fastball and sweeping “cross-fire” curveball served with a long, side-arm delivery that befuddled batters.

Following the 1914 season, as Philadelphia faced a money crunch, Connie Mack allowed Plank to get away and joined the newly established Federal League with the St. Louis Terriers. Eddie posted a 21-11 record, his last 20-win year, with a 2.08 ERA and 147 Ks. When the federal League collapsed after the 1915 seasons, the St. Louis Browns, who owner his rights, added the now-40-year old Plank to their rotation for his final two seasons. He pitched respectably as he went 21-11 for the Browns over two years (1916-1917) before retiring. Despite announcing his retirement, the New York Yankees sent five players and cash to the Browns for Plank and Del Pratt, but he refused to report and formally retired. Eddie Plank finished his career 326-194, with 2,246 strikeouts and a 2.35 ERA. At the time of his retirement, he was the winningest left-handed pitcher in the history of baseball, since surpassed by fellow Hall of famers Warren Spahn and Steve Carlton. The Veterans Committee elected Edward Stewart Plank to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1946. He retired to his farm in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and also became a tour guide at Gettysburg National Park before he was struck down by a stroke in 1926 at the age of 50. 



Condition Census (Explain)

Pos Grade Thumbnail Pedigree and History
1 NM 7
2 EX-MT 6
3 EX+ 5.5
4 EX 5
4 EX 5
4 EX 5
4 EX 5
4 EX 5
4 EX 5
5 VG-EX 4 (17)

AUCTION PRICES REALIZED

Date Price Grade Lot # Auction House Auction/Seller Type Cert
01/27/2012 $1,726 5 39 Mile High Card Company January 2012 Auction 18946110
05/16/2015 $1,912 5 80225 Heritage Auctions 2015 May 14 - 16 Sports Collectibles Catalog Auc... May 16, 2015 Auction 01743704
02/06/2017 $2,060 5 401266533891 eBay pwcc_auctions Auction 18946110
04/09/2017 $1,604 5 401300029009 eBay pwcc_auctions Auction 18946110
03/08/2008 $672 4 (MC) 111 Goodwin and Co. Auctions Masterpieces and Uncommon Commons XIV Auction 09182223
12/18/2011 $779 4 103 Memory Lane, Inc. Winter 2011 Auction 30687831
03/28/2014 $1,489 4 70 Goodwin and Co. Auctions Masterpieces and Uncommon Commons LIV Auction 12389518
10/15/2014 $2,040 4 136 Robert Edward Auctions 2014 Fall Auction 14923471
12/04/2015 $930 4 77 Greg Bussineau Auctions Fall 2015 Vintage Trading Cards and Memorabilia Auction Auction 12239610
01/18/2017 $1,100 4 371837144376 eBay probstein123 Auction 40147381
05/22/2017 $840 4 (MC) 306 Robert Edward Auctions 2017 Spring Auction 26724072
05/22/2017 $1,320 4 294 Robert Edward Auctions 2017 Spring Auction 04644762
06/11/2017 $1,081 4 292137458552 eBay bettyc1952 Auction 27228479
08/12/2017 $1,200 4 322638567884 eBay aad0906 Buy It Now 40147381
09/10/2017 $1,219 4 352155983943 eBay pwcc_auctions Auction 27509081
11/12/2017 $1,348 4 352199981335 eBay pwcc_auctions Auction 27228479
04/10/2018 $1,477 4 142741080188 eBay pwcc_auctions Auction 27509081
06/25/2018 $1,250 4 132650735529 eBay bbcemporium Best Offer 28814241
09/14/2008 $1,262 3 83 Memory Lane, Inc. Hot Summer Classic Rarities Auction 14980695
04/18/2010 $686 3 219 Memory Lane, Inc. Springtime Classic Auction Auction 90602916
11/08/2014 $837 3 80044 Heritage Auctions 2014 November 6 - 8 Sports Catalog Auction - Dal... Nov 8, 2014 Auction 16822983
07/05/2017 $697 3 142426152929 eBay pwcc_auctions Auction 20267064
05/06/2018 $780 3 248 Robert Edward Auctions 2018 Spring Auction 15376793
08/01/2017 $850 2 352113898757 eBay tbh39 Best Offer 23078897
03/11/2018 $661 2 352294394769 eBay pwcc_auctions Auction 28469905
04/10/2018 $591 2 352319422690 eBay pwcc_auctions Auction 18986852
01/19/2017 $407 1.5 371837750511 eBay probstein123 Auction 25951140
08/15/2017 $365 1.5 132288911243 eBay carterscards2006 Auction 27653701
02/24/2018 $370 1.5 312069779613 eBay markirodenko Auction 28790097
09/10/2017 $433 1 142493391635 eBay pwcc_auctions Auction 27526905
07/08/2018 $260 1 (MK) 292620464233 eBay memorylaneinc Auction 41124122
05/07/2018 $243 Auth 192522140313 eBay eman_28551 Auction 23019252