Baseball historians have a field day with this exciting Negro League autograph collection, that can’t be replicated due to most of the featured signers having departed for the “Field of Dreams”. Hall of Fame greats, obscure journeymen and everyday players from the pre-integration period are recalled with this assortment of signed photos, cards, letters and ephemera. Signature quality is all you good want, with a strength range of (“8” to “10”) and the 1970s-1990s materials are generally very pleasing. Auction LOA from JSA.
1/7/76 (James) “Cool Papa” Bell (d.1991) signed handwritten letter, known for remarkable speed, the fleet-footed Bell was the fifth Negro League star elected to the Hall of Fame (class of ’74), this twice folded crisp bright white sheet features bold green ink writing with a dynamic (“9-10”) strength signature and the contents detail Bell’s infirmity and the cancelling of “75 or more engagements”, also included are the original mailing envelope (EX+) addressed in Bell’s hand with a 1/8/76 St. Louis postmark; and an autographed baseball card (NM) signed on the front (“9”) and the back (“9-10”)
Toni Stone (d.1996) signed (“9”) Indianapolis Clowns reproduction scorecard cover, Stone is cited as the first woman to play in the Negro Leagues, playing for several teams from 1949-1954
6/79 “Memphis” multi-signed magazine (VG-EX) with “The Memphis Red Sox” cover signed by (9) average (“9-10”) with (top to bottom) Verdell (Lefty) Mathis (d.1998), Joe B. Scott (d.2013), Frank “Wahoo” Pearson (d.1997), Isiah (Lefty) Harris (D.2001), (Prince) Joe Henry (d.2009), Cowan “Bubba” Hyde (D.2003), Herm Purcell (d.?), (Ted) “Double Duty” Radcliffe (d.2005), William “Bobby” Robinson aka “The Human Vacuum Cleaner” (d.2002), the bold and firm quality of these signatures suggests they are vintage, possibly signed at a reunion event or memorabilia show around the date this magazine was published, while the authors were still robust
Also present are:
(8) 8x10 Photos average (NM-MT) with: James “Cool Papa” Bell (d.1991, HOF 1974), Bill (Fireball) Beverly (d.1996), Ray Dandridge (d.1994, HOF 1987), Monte Irvin (d.2016, HOF 1973), Judy Johnson (d.1989, HOF 1975), (John) “Buck” O’Neil (d.2006), Rogers Pierre (d.1996), (Ted) “Double Duty” Radcliffe (d.2005)
(11) Cards/Flats average (NM-MT) unless noted with: Garnett Blair (d.1996), Sherwood Brewer (d.2003), Bill (Fireball) Beverly (d.1996), Lou Dials (d.1994), J.C. (The Spider) Hartman with “Colt 45’s”, Lester Lockett (d.2005), John “Mule” Miles (d.2013), (John) “Buck” O’Neil (d.2006), (Terrible Ted) Ted Page (d.1984) on an index card dated “5/16/79” (EX), Charlie Pride (gained national fame as a country music performer, traded by the Louisville Clippers with another player to the Birmingham Black Barons for a team bus), Earl Taborn (d.1996)
(2) 1984 Casey E. Evans signed letters, both with four pages of writing on average (VG to EX) pages with fully legible written content naming many players from the Negro Leagues, Evans cites having been “one of the Great Black Pitchers who pitched in that old Negro leagues for 16 years” including the Birmingham Black Barons with Willie Mays, the Memphis Red Sox and the Chicago Americans, Evans announces his age as 74 at the time of writing these letters, meaning he was born c.1910