1884 BELLAIRE GLOBES BASEBALL TEAM PHOTO FEATURING NEGRO LEAGUE LEGEND SOL WHITE.
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(Includes 18% Buyer's Premium)
Wednesday, March 15, 2017 1:00:00 AM Eastern Standard Time
Offered here is the earliest known baseball photo of Negro League pioneer Sol White - a team photo of the integrated Bellaire Globes taken in 1884. The 5.75x7-5/8" (mounted to 7x9-1/8" cardboard) formal studio original photograph pictures all nine members of the club (along w/the team's manager) posing together. Each of the players is identified in black fountain pen along bottom margin of cardboard mount. The notation "Bellaire Globes 1884" is written in black fountain pen at top margin along w/the year. "1884" is also written at the bottom center of the photo itself. White (1868-1955) was an American professional baseball infielder, manager and executive, and one of the most influential figures in the history of Negro League baseball. A fan of the Bellaire Globes (a local amateur team from his hometown of Bellaire, OH) as a teenager, he was drafted into a game after a player injured their finger. Quickly making a name for himself as a ballplayer, White attracted the attention of managers of independent teams throughout the Ohio Valley. In 1887, White joined the Pittsburgh Keystones, going on to play ball and/or manage several teams, including managing the Philadelphia Giants to four straight black baseball championships (1904-1907). He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006. White is also the author of the 1907 book "Sol White's Official Base Ball Guide," the earliest and most important manuscript chronicling the early years of black baseball. White was just 16 years old at the time of this photo and the Bellaire Globes were the first organized club he ever played for. The only African-American player on the club during this brief period of integration, his skills on the diamond were obviously sufficient to at least temporarily shield him from the standard backlash of bigotry and prejudice expressed by the public at the time. This extraordinary piece originates from the personal collection of Bob Westlake, who was the Bellaire Globes catcher and is pictured in the photo, as is his twin brother, George. The photo displays exceptional clarity and contrast w/just some minor surface wear that is only noticeable in reflected light. Lower right margin has tiniest surface nick, but o/w photo displays Exc. The cardboard mount has notable edge wear, including 5/8x.75" corner piece off lower right and 7/8" tear along upper left margin. Top margin has faint streak of moisture staining and lower left margin has 3/8" spot. The mount has been affixed to a large piece of paper (from the Westlake Family scrapbook), the other side displaying a newspaper clipping about Cy Young's 81st birthday celebration (Westlake being a personal friend of Young). Cardboard mount is VG overall. Photo is accompanied by Oct. 23, 1949 Wheeling, VA newspaper article on Sol White entitled " Wheeling Club Boasted First Negro In Pro Baseball," featuring the very photo offered here. The Westlake Family noted that Bob Westlake often lent his photographs to newspapers for stories, as is the case here. This is the only known original surviving example of this team photograph. Exceedingly rare, this incredible piece of baseball history also represents the earliest known team photo to feature a Negro League member of the National Baseball Hall Of Fame. This very same photo originally sold at auction in 2008 for $9,400. In 2010, an 1887 photo featuring White as a member of the Wheeling Green Stockings team sold for $17,625.
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