#Shortstops: Gateway To The Season

Part of the SHORT STOPS series
Written by: Matthew Carter

The thrill that a baseball fan gets receiving a ticket to a ballgame is tremendous. A fan gets an even better feeling when receiving a season pass to all of their team’s home games for the season.

Most season passes are flat, laminated pieces of paper that you show the ticket taker at the gate to get in for free. But one major league team, the New York Giants, was more creative with their season passes. They gave their fans whimsical bracelet charms to use as season passes.

The Giants began the practice of giving out unique season passes in 1913 when they presented fans season passes in the form of a pocketknife. The knife was engraved with the words: “Polo Grounds Thrills For You- Season 1913 Not Transferable-John T. Brush. Pres” on the front of the knife with the name of the fan on the back.

The practice really took off in 1919 when Charles Stoneham became the owner of the Giants. He teamed up with New York-based Lambert Brothers Jewelers Inc. to create unique season pass charms to be given to a lucky fan. The charms were made out of sterling silver and each charm was molded into a shape with a baseball-themed depiction.

Some examples of the depictions the charms were molded into include a baseball, an open hand, a key, fans cheering in the stands, baseball bats lined up to resemble a paper fan and the Polo Grounds, the Giants’ home stadium.

Among the different New York Giants charms in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s collection is the one from the 1924 season. The charm depicts a wooden fence gate with the words “Giants 1924 Open Gate Chas. A. Stoneham, Pres.” on the front of the pass, while the back of the pass has the name of the fan, “William P. Garrison” in this case.

Mr. Garrison would have enjoyed watching the Giants play in 1924. Led by Hall of Fame players Frankie Frisch, Ross Youngs, Freddie Lindstrom, George “High Pockets” Kelly, Travis Jackson, Bill Terry and Hack Wilson – along with manager John McGraw – the Giants won their fourth straight National League pennant before losing in the World Series to the Washington Senators in seven games.

The Giants discontinued the practice of season pass charms after the 1931 season. Notable persons who received season passes in those years included Blanche McGraw, the wife of John McGraw, Nathan Miller, the former Governor of New York, and even former U.S. President Woodrow Wilson.

Matthew Carter was the 2019 curatorial intern in the Hall of Fame’s Frank and Peggy Steele Internship Program for Youth Leadership Development

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Part of the SHORT STOPS series