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Circa 1947 Official Negro League Ball Signed By Campanella, Robinson, Newcombe, and Doby
Starting Bid - $2,000.00, Sold For - $6,960.00
Offered is an extremely historic, and almost certainly unique, circa 1947 Official Negro American League (Martin) ball signed in vintage blue fountain pen by four of the first black ballplayers to break the Major League color barrier: Jackie Robinson, Larry Doby, Roy Campanella, and Don Newcombe. These four players enjoyed remarkable success at the Major League level, but history will also recall their names for a more important reason: Each individual whose signature appears on this ball was among the final few chosen for consideration by Branch Rickey in 1945 to lead his "Great Experiment" two years later. Rickey knew that the player who would lead the fight against segregation needed more than talent to succeed; he needed a special character as well. For that reason Rickey patiently narrowed his search to a select group of black ballplayers who, among their other attributes, were young, educated, and well spoken. That fact that all four of these "finalists" eventually rose to stardom in the Major Leagues only further serves to validate Rickey's evaluation process. Only one of these greats could be called upon to be "the first," to fulfill a destiny that would lead the way for others, possibly at great personal sacrifice. Any one of these gentlemen might have been chosen. All four played key roles in the early days of integration in baseball, literally tearing down barriers of entry that had been built for countless decades. Robinson, of course, broke the color barrier in 1947 as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers, and Doby quickly followed him that summer, becoming the first black player in the American League. Campanella joined the Dodgers in 1948 and Newcombe in 1949. Today, Robinson, Doby, and Campanella are also members of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Each signature is signed alone on a separate panel, with Doby's occupying the sweet spot. Robinson's signature appears on the panel directly below the sweet spot. The signatures of Newcombe and Campanella sit, respectively, on the panels to the left and right of the sweet spot. All of the signatures are uniformly penned, grading "7/8." Of particular note is the style of baseball. The fact that this baseball is an extremely rare 1940s Official Negro American League ball emphasizes the special meaning of this signed baseball. This is a rare style ball of great significance, which in this extraordinary high grade would almost certainly sell for a couple of thousand dollars. (The last unsigned Official Negro American League ball in this condition REA offered at auction sold years ago for well over $2,000.) The cream colored ball bears strong manufacturer's stampings throughout and is in Near Mint condition. LOAs from James Spence/JSA and Steve Grad, Mike Gutierrez & Zach Rullo/PSA DNA. Reserve $2,000. Estimate $4,000/$6,000. SOLD FOR $6,960.00
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