This pass is from the extensive collection of my good friend Howard Haimann. It is one of the most significant major league baseball passes I have ever seen for the following reasons:

  • There few existing passes from 1901 so this pass is special because of its age.
  • This 1901 Cincinnati Reds pass is especially rare because it was for games at League Park—it was the Reds home field from 1884 to 1901. In 1902, the same park was updated and called the Palace of the Fans. The Reds then moved to Redlands Field in 1912, later called Crosley Field.
  • The pass is significant because of who signed it and to whom it was issued. It is signed by then Reds owner John T. Brush, one of the most dominant forces of the era in baseball. He owned the Reds from 1891 through 1902. He also owned the New York Giants from 1891 until his death in 1912. The pass is issued the Mr. and Mrs. H. (Harry) N. Hempstead. Harry Hempstead succeeded John T. Brush as the owner of the New York Giants in 1912 through 1918.
    • John T. Brush was born in Clintonville, New York, on June 15, 1845. Orphaned at age four, John lived with his grandfather until going to Boston at age 17 to seek his fortune in the clothing business. After serving with the First New York Artillery during the Civil War, he opened a department store in Indianapolis when he was only 30 years old. Brush’s first contact with baseball came in 1887 when he bought into the upstart Indianapolis Hoosiers of the National League as a means of advertising his store. He purchased the Cincinnati Reds in 1891 (selling his interest in 1902 to a group led by Garry Herrmann) and controlling interest of the New York Giants from Andrew Freedman in 1902.

      Just before the start of the 1911 baseball season, John T. Brush, his health now irreversibly in decline, received a cruel blow. On April 11 a fire destroyed most of Polo Grounds III, the wooden ballpark that had served as Giants home field for the past 20 years. The Giants’ home season was rescued when Frank Farrell, dominant co-owner of the American League rival New York Highlanders, magnanimously placed Hilltop Park at Brush’s disposal. Before his death in 1912, Brush rebuilt the Polo Grounds. Brush lived to see his Giants play in three World’s Series (1905, 1911, and 1912).
    • Harry N. Hempstead was born on June 25, 1868 in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. He was a clothing store executive, not a baseball man. His connection to the Giants derived from marriage to Brush’s elder daughter, Eleanor. Although Hempstead had long held nominal positions on the Giants’ corporate board of directors, he had spent most of the preceding decade managing the Brush retail operation in Indianapolis. When he was thrust into the club presidency in December 1912, Hempstead’s primary concern would not be NL pennant races, a matter that he prudently left to authoritarian Giants field manager John McGraw. For the six years that he was club boss, Hempstead maintained a low public profile. In January 1919 he sold controlling interest in the Giants franchise to Manhattan stock trader Charles A. Stoneham. Hempstead then receded into the background, leaving to Stoneham the enjoyment of the four National League pennants (1921-1922-1923-1924) that lay just on the club’s horizon.

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