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1947 Brooklyn Dodgers Program from Jackie Robinson's First Regular Season Major League Game!
Starting Bid - $1,000.00, Sold For - $4,147.50
Extremely historic program from Jackie Robinson's first regular-season Major League game on April 15, 1947. Despite the advancements made the year before, which witnessed Robinson becoming the first African American player in organized baseball since Moses Fleetwood Walker in 1889, it wasn't until Robinson took the field on opening day in 1947 that baseball's long-standing color barrier was officially broken. In many ways, it remains the most significant day in baseball history. Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig summed it up well in 2004: "I have often stated that baseball's proudest moment and its most powerful social statement came on April 15, 1947 when Jackie Robinson first set foot on a Major League Baseball field. On that day, Jackie brought down the color barrier and ushered in the era in which baseball became the true national pastime."
Offered here is an exceedingly rare program from Robinson's historic debut against the Boston Braves. The twelve-page program is completely scored in pencil, recording the Dodgers 5-3 victory, and is also dated "4/15/47" at the top of the score page. In addition to being scored, all of the correct lineup substitutions for each club have also been dutifully recorded. Robinson, who played first base and batted second in the order that day, went hitless in his first game; however, he did reach base on an error in the seventh inning and eventually scored the go-ahead run for the Dodgers, who scored three runs that frame to erase a 3-2 deficit. A crowd of 25,623 fans were in attendance that day, including an estimated 14,000 African Americans who proudly watched Robinson courageously change the course of baseball history. Despite the profound significance of Robinson's first game, programs from that day are incredibly rare. This is the first example we have ever offered and we cannot recall the last time we have seen another. While it is true that the actual scoring of the program is the sole determining factor with regard to its having been issued for the opening game on April 15, 1947, it should be noted that based upon the printed rosters, this program can ONLY date from one of the first three games of the season against the Braves, scheduled for April 15, 16, and 17. (Actually it can be even more narrowly dated to ONLY the April 15th or April 17th game, because the April 16th game was canceled due to weather.) The Braves next visit to Ebbets Field that year was on June 26th, but Mort Cooper, who was traded to the Giants on June 13th, is listed here (he was the starting pitcher in the game), while the player he was traded for, Bill Voisell, is not. That fact conclusively dates it to the first series of the year between the two clubs, specifically either the game played on April 15th or 17th. Since it is scored, quite accurately with regard to all of the action and substitutions, logic dictates that this is undoubtedly a program issued for opening game on April 15, 1947. This program originates from a lifelong Brooklyn Dodgers fan (our consignor) who has had it for decades, and it was one of the cornerstones of his vast collection (which is presented in its entirety in a number of lots in this auction). The program (6.5 x 9.75 inches) is lightly toned and displays a light vertical center fold, a small chip in the upper right corner of the front cover, and a slight tear to the back cover along the upper portion of the spine. In Very Good to Excellent condition. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $4,147.50
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