Fall Premier Auction 2013
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on:
It was the careful and in hindsight unassailable planning of Branch Rickey that brought a 27-year-old Jackie Roosevelt Robinson to the Montreal Royals in the spring of 1946 as Rickey launched his "Great Experiment" that ultimately integrated Major League Baseball and changed the face of the game forever. The passage of many decades would ultimately reveal that Robinson's historic smashing of the despicable "color line" had ripple effects far beyond the baseball landscape, making it a moment of unmatched significance in the earliest years of the Civil Rights movement. This amazing vintage black-and-white photograph tells the story of the beginning of that historic makeover, a photo signed by Robinson alongside his image at the far right; the photo bears 16 other signatures, including many future major leaguer players Among the autographs are: Spider Jorgensen, Herman Franks, Lew Riggs, Tommy Tatum, Curt Davis, Al Campanis, Steve Nagy, Lester Burge, Bob Fontaine, John Gabbard, Earl Naylor, Jean-Pierre Roy, Red Durrett, and manager Clay Hopper. Another intriguing note: Pictured at the far left, in the same row as Robinson but on the opposite side, is John Wright, who did not sign the photo. He was the second black player that Rickey signed, and he was Robinson's roommate with the Royals, though he never did make it the to the majors and returned to the Negro leagues the following year.
The black fountain pen signatures average 6/10 in strength; the photo itself, taken at the Royal's home park, Delorimier Stadium, presents as Excellent with some unobtrusive smaller creases and a couple of longer ones on the top and bottom, neither of which is anywhere close to the images of the team members and don't detract significantly from the overall presentation. It's difficult to overstate the importance of an artifact that predates even the traditionally revered moments heralding the end of the color line in 1947. Truly, it began here, a full year before, as baseball undertook to address the awful shadow that darkened its past, a microcosm of the changes coming to the wider nation.
Includes a full LOA from PSA/DNA.