Recent eBay Scores, Part 7
August 29th, 2010 by slangon

On we go with this very long series of posts dedicated to all of teh cards that I’ve gotten off of eBay over the last few months but haven’t had time to write about before. If you recall, in the last post from this series, I mentioned that I was down to just a few cards, and since I don’t really have too much to blog about at the moment, I was going to stretch the posts to one per card. This is number 2 of those cards.

If you also recall from that last post, I mentioned that they were all vintage cards and I was going to work my way back from the youngest to the oldest card. I started off with that Peanuts Lowrey card from 1949, and now I am moving onto the 2nd youngest card of the bunch, which really isn’t young at all. In fact it is now one of the oldest cards in my collection.

1910 Mecca Champion Athlete and Prize Fighter Series Philadelphia Jack O’Brien

Here we have a 100 year old boxing card of one Philadelphia Jack O’Brien from the “Champion Athlete and Prize Fighter Series” put out by Mecca Cigarettes. These cards are designated as T220 by Jefferson Burdick and his American Card Catalog. Mecca is probably best known for their T201 Baseball Double Folders set, but they also put other, non-baseball cards in their cigarette packs. Between 1910 and 1912, they produced several Champion Athlete and Prize Fighter sets. Another of those sets was the T218 set. As you can see in that link, these cards had Mecca backs as well as backs that featured other cigarette brands made by the American Tobacco Company. The T220 set was made with Mecca backs or Tolstoi backs (although judging by the examples I was able to find on the interwebs, it seems like the Tolstoi backs were much rarer). The Jack O’Brien that I got is a Mecca back.

As you can see, the info on the back is pretty sparse. Oddly enough his name is not Jack O’Brien at all, but rather Joseph Francis Hagan. Even odder is the fact that he is the older brother of another fighter who went by the name Young Jack O’Brien. I guess there was not a lot of originality in the O’Brien / Hagan family. He beat the world light heavyweight champ, Bob Fitzsimmons with a 13 round TKO in San Francisco in 1905, but he “abandoned the title”, whatever that means. He also fought notable fighters Tommy Burns, Stanley Ketchel and Jack Johnson. He finished his career having fought 180 fights with 147 wins, 41 loses and 19 draws.

After retiring as a fighter, Hagan opened a gym in New York City, in the late 1920’s. World middleweight champion Harry Greb trained at his gym, and the only existing films of Greb in action are workouts and sparring with O’Brien.

O’Brien/Hagan was inducted into the Ring Boxing Hall of Fame in 1968, the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1987, and the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1994.

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