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Lot # 298 (of 873)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

Cum Posey Photograph Collection (6)

Starting Bid - $300.00, Sold For - $690.00

Collection of six photographs relating to Cumberland Willis "Cum" Posey Jr., including three from his personal estate. Posey was one of the central figures in Negro League history, and is often referred to as the father of the Homestead Grays. Posey joined the Grays in their second season in 1911. Light-complexioned, he attended Duquesne University in 1915 where he played baseball on an otherwise entirely white team, and was an outstanding basketball player as well, later playing professional basketball with the Monticello-Delaneys and then the championship Leondi team. Posey worked his way up the ranks of the Grays, becoming manager, booking agent, business manager, and finally owner of the team. He was later an officer in the Negro National League. In 1927 he organized a Homestead Grays basketball team that defeated the New York Celtics. His playing days with the Grays ended in the 1920's, and by 1930-31 he had turned the Grays into an eastern power with the addition of Smokey Joe Williams, Judy Johnson, Oscar Charleston, Josh Gibson, Jud Wilson, and others. In 1932, Gus Greenlee, a numbers racketeer in Pittsburgh, began raiding the Grays for their top players to form his own team, the Pittsburgh Crawfords. At the time, Posey could not match Greenlee's salaries, and Greenlee signed Gibson, Charleston, Johnson, Wilson and others to Crawfords contracts, forming a powerhouse team of his own. Posey struggled to keep pace with the Crawfords, signing other players to keep the team intact, and founding the Detroit Wolves, and also the East-West League, in 1932. The East-West League folded after one half-season. Times were tough during the depression, and while struggling to keep the team afloat, Posey in 1934 enlisted the aid of Rufus "Sonnyman" Jackson who, like Greenlee, was a numbers racketeer in Pittsburgh, for financial assistance, taking him on as a co-owner, president, and treasurer. The new money allowed Posey to rebuild the Grays. In 1934, on the advice of Smokey Joe Williams, then retired, he signed first baseman Buck Leonard out of North Carolina. Posey, always a shrewd judge of talent, had also signed standout pitcher Ray Brown, who became the ace of the Gray's staff for 17 years. When Gibson left the Crawfords to play in Latin America, Posey eventually lured him back to the Grays in 1937. With Leonard and Gibson anchoring the Grays "murderers row", the team then went on a run of 9 straight Negro National League pennants with this second dynasty, which also included for a period of time in the 1940's, Cool Papa Bell and Jud Wilson. Posey died in early 1946, just months after Jackie Robinson signed with the Brooklyn organization, leaving behind the legacy of the Homestead Grays, as well as an enormous contribution to the game of baseball. This collection of six original photos includes: 1 & 2) 1915 Duquesne University baseball team cabinet display photograph, and 1915 Duquesne University basketball team cabinet display photograph, both with Posey, and both with the mounted photographs (each measuring 9 ½" x 13") in Ex-Mt condition on very irregularly cut mounts. Posey is the only black player on each team. 3) Photograph (7 "x 5") of Posey in Homestead Grays team basketball uniform, from 1927, the only year of existence of the Gray's basketball team. (Ex). 4) Photograph (9" x 6") of numbers racketeer and Grays co-owner "Sonnyman" Jackson, packing a suitcase (mounted on thin cardboard, otherwise Ex). 5) Photograph (8" x 10") of "Jackson Sky Rocket Grill," a Pittsburgh establishment which was the front for "Sonnyman" Jackson's office and numbers running ring. Stamped "Rockwell Photo" lower right. (Ex). 6) Photograph (8" x 10") of See Posey throwing out the first ball on Opening Day, 1946, shortly after his brother Cum Posey's death, with "Sonnyman" Jackson, and an unidentified gentleman in a military uniform. (Ex). Total six photos. The first three photographs are from the estate of Cum Posey. Reserve $300. Estimate $600/$1,200. SOLD FOR $690.00

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