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Circa 1924 Homestead Grays Large-Format Team Photo with Cum Posey!
Starting Bid - $300, Sold For - $840
Rare large-format team photo, circa 1924, featuring eleven members of the legendary Homestead Grays, including player/manager and team founder Cum Posey. The photo, which originates from the Richard Merkin Collection, pictures the players in uniform, standing shoulder-to-shoulder on the field. Each player is identified in black ink below his respective image: Lefty Williams, Smith, Allen, Brown, W. Harris, Johnson, Mashaw, Moody, M. Harris, Posey, and Cannady. Although some players, such as Lefty Williams, Scrappy Brown, Win Harris, Willis Moody, Mo Harris, Walter "Rev" Cannady, and, of course Cum Posey, are well known Negro League players, little information exists regarding the other team members identified here. Based upon the player identifications, this photo most likely dates to either the 1923 or 1924 season. (Cannady played with the Grays in 1923, 1924, 1929, and 1932, but only the 1923 and 1924 rosters correspond closely with the players represented here.)
Cum Posey was one of the most significant figures in Negro League baseball history. The Homestead Grays were officially organized in 1910, but it wasn't until Posey took charge of the club in 1912 that the franchise was truly born. Posey served as player/manager of the club during its earlier years and after he retired from playing in 1929 he built the team into one of the most prominent Negro League clubs of all time. Although Posey deliberately chose not to affiliate the Grays with any of the organized leagues for many years, he finally relented in 1935 by entering his club in the Negro National League. Powered by a lineup featuring Josh Gibson and Buck Leonard, the Grays proceeded to win nine consecutive Negro National League championships and three Negro World Series titles between the years 1937 and 1945, thereby cementing the club's reputation as one of the greatest dynasties in baseball history. Any and all Negro League photographs dating to the early 1920s, especially large-format examples such as this, are exceedingly rare. The fact that this photo features Homestead Grays team founder Cum Posey in uniform during his playing days, makes it especially significant. The photo (13.75 x 11 inches) displays obvious flaws, including a large area of paper loss in the upper right quadrant, as well as paper loss within the images of Lefty Williams and, to a lesser degree, Cannady. Numerous creases and repaired tears are evident and there is darkened area (possibly from staining) in the lower left corner. While technically in Poor to Fair condition, much of the central image area, with the exception of Lefty Williams' image, is free of any significant defects, and the remaining flaws can most likely be ameliorated by professional restoration. This is the only example of this rare photo we have ever seen and just one of only two we have ever offered featuring Cum Posey in uniform as player/manager of the Grays. SOLD FOR $840
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