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Estimate: $ 800 - $ 1,200
(SPORTS--FOOTBALL.) Team photograph of the Wooster High School football team featuring pioneer athlete Charles W. Follis. Silver print, 7 x 9 1/4 inches, on original plain mount; minor dampstaining to mount, photograph crisp and bright. Wooster, OH, 1899
Charles W. Follis (1879-1910) was a star athlete in Wooster, OH who organized and captained his high school's football team; he appears at the center of this group photograph, holding the ball. As a student at Wooster College he earned the nickname "The Black Cyclone." He went on to become the first African American to play professional football when he joined the Shelby Blues in 1902. One of his teammates with Shelby was Branch Rickey, who as a baseball general manager later signed Jackie Robinson to break baseball's color line--his time with Follis is sometimes cited as an influence on his later decision. Follis was also a hard-hitting catcher on his college baseball team, and became one the first African-Americans to progress from college to the Negro Leagues. He died of pneumonia in 1910.
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