Fall Premier Auction 2013
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on:
The National League's newly crowned Most Valuable Player, Jackie Robinson, would annually lead a group of all-star players on a postseason barnstorming tour, which were fairly common at the time, as they allowed players to earn extra money during the off season and also provided fans living in cities without major league teams the opportunity to see the game's top players in person. Robinson's celebrity status at the time as the first player to break baseball's long-standing color barrier made him the perfect "front-man" for the tour, and this spectacular Official Souvenir Program from the 1949 tour of big-league and Negro league stars, is one of the great artifacts from the era, a profoundly important piece provided even greater significance because of its linkage between major league and Negro league baseball.
The 1949 tour included Jackie’s Brooklyn Dodger teammates Roy Campanella and Don Newcombe and Cleveland’s Larry Doby, the first black player in the American League. All of these pioneers signed the program, with Robinson's absolutely stunning 9/10 autograph in blue ballpoint, coming on the cover beneath his photograph. Newcombe, Doby ("Best Wishes" inscription added) and Campanella have signed in equally attractive blue ballpoint on the back page, which features four equally-sized images of the great stars. Printed in Dodger blue ink, the 8 1/2-by-11-inch, 16-page souvenir program is in superb condition, presenting essentially Ex-Mt, with only the lightest of wrinkling and slight wear to the top edge and spine. The program includes four pages of photos and articles on Robinson, two pages each for Campanella, Newcombe and Doby (with a single-page, full-bleed "blue" photograph of each), and two pages with information about the tour, citing the work of famed promoter Ted Worner, who teamed with Negro league legend Alex Pompez, the owner of the New York Cubans and a 2006 inductee to the Hall of Fame. The center scorecard section includes attractive fountain pen renderings of the last names of the starting lineups, including Doby, Robinson and Campanella, batting 3-4-5 for the All-Stars. No notations of any kind have been made on the scorecard columns.
As noted above, it's difficult to overstate the importance of an artifact that so precisely provides a linkage between the great pioneers who shattered baseball's appalling color line and the homespun Negro leagues that were ultimately doomed by the very same event.
Pre-certified by PSA/DNA.