1924 EASTERN COLORED LEAGUE CHAMPS HILLDALE GIANTS TEAM PHOTO W/HOF'ers SANTOP, MACKEY, JUDY JOHNSON
Presented here is the perfect accompanying piece to previous lot #539, which pictured both the Hilldale Giants and Kansas City Monarchs baseball clubs prior to Game 5 of the 1924 Negro League World Series. This 6.75x10" original Type I photo depicts 22 members of the 1924 Eastern Colored League Champion Hilldale Giants ball club posed in front of the stadium scoreboard in Darby, PA just prior to a league game against the Harrisburg Giants. This iconic photograph was taken by local photographer, Royal Art Studio (Darby, PA). Here is a listing of identifications: (Back Row from Left) - Scrip Lee, Phil Cockrell, Biz Mackey (HOF), Nip Winters, George Carr, William Campbell, Edward Bolden, Wade Hampton, Wilbur Pritchett, Judy Johnson (HOF), Red Ryan and Louis Santop (HOF). (Front Row from Left) - Clint Thomas, Rube Currie, Cliff Carter, Tom Allen, batboy, Mr. Lambert, Frank Warfield, Otto Briggs, Joe Lewis and Jake Stephens.
The Hilldale ball club, owned and operated by future Baseball Hall of Fame candidate, Edward Bolden, was a charter member of Rube Foster's newly formed Negro National League in 1920. After three seasons of competing against other Eastern Division ball clubs in Foster's league, Bolden successfully recruited six Eastern black ball clubs and launched his own Eastern Colored League in 1923. Bolden's Hilldale club immediately dominated the new league, winning the Championship for 1923 as well as the league title again in 1924. After lengthy negotiations between Foster's and Bolden's leagues, an agreement was reached prior to the end of 1924 which would allow the two regular season league champions to compete against each other in the first Colored World Series.
Although the Monarchs were able to squeak out a 5 games to 4 series win (with 1 tie), the Hilldale ball club played outstanding baseball during the series, finishing up a terrific 1924 campaign. Season highlights included team batting leaders, Judy Johnson and Biz Mackey with averages of .342 and .332 respectively. On the pitching side, Nip Winters led the league in wins with 20 and had the lowest ERA on the ball club at 2.16. The nucleus of the ball club would remain intact and the Giants would again take the Eastern Colored League championship in 1925, this time successfully besting the Monarchs for the 1925 Colored World Series Championship.
As is often the case w/these one-of-a-kind photos, the example presented here shows wear. Most noteworthy defect is a 4.5" diagonal heavy crease (with surface paper break) running across center of photo and impacting the images of Carr and Carter). There are five 1" margin tears which have clear tape repairs on reverse, as does the center crease. Bottom margin trim. Other moderate scattered handling wear, corner creases and aging. Image remains sharp and clear. Overall VG.
Extensive research has revealed that the photo offered here is likely the only surviving example, as we have not been able to track down any other public sales. The historical importance of this photograph is immediately evident as it appears on the front cover of Larry Lester's book entitled "Baseball's First Colored World Series." This photo presents a rare opportunity to own an original piece of memorabilia from one of the most important seasons in Negro League Baseball history.