Nov 25, 2014 - Sale 2368

Sale 2368 - Lot 40

Price Realized: $ 1,375
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 400 - $ 600
(BASEBALL.) Pair of mammoth photographs depicting an early integrated baseball team. Each about 12 x 16 inches on original mounts, well-preserved but lacking any captioning or identifying information. Np, circa 1890

Additional Details

Several African-American baseball players established tenuous careers in the white professional leagues in the 1880s and early 1890s, most of them in the minor leagues, all of them in the north, and all of them subject to abuse and dismissal for reasons unrelated to their play. These photographs depict one of these integrated teams. The African-American player seated third from the right in the team portrait is apparently playing shortstop in the action photograph. The uniforms and equipment suggest a date within a few years of 1890. The mismatched uniforms and primitive field conditions suggest the lowest level of the independent minor leagues. Per the Society of American Baseball Research's article "Blacks in 19th Century Organized Baseball," there was only one integrated team beginning with "N" during this period, the 1887 Newark team featuring George Stovey and Moses Fleetwood Walker, but we don't believe this was the Newark team. Newburyport, MA had a team during this period, and seems like a possibility. The gentleman in the mismatched "H" uniform appears to be a Harvard football player on summer break, likely asked to bring his own uniform to save expenses, but he has not been identified either. Any clues? Let us know.