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Rare 1944 Cum Posey Handwritten Letter on Homestead Grays Letterhead - Outstanding Baseball Content!
Starting Bid - $2,000, Sold For - $5,100
Remarkable and extremely rare two-page handwritten letter, dated March 12, 1944, signed by Cum Posey (1890-1946), Hall of Fame Negro League owner. In his letter, on official "World's Colored Champions 1943 Homestead Grays" letterhead, Posey writes to a "Mr. J. Zellars" about scheduling a game in Detroit and also rails against the lack of cooperation between the presidents of the Negro National League and the Negro American League. In full:
Dear Sir, - I just received a letter from Tom Baird of Kansas City stating Kansas City was to play in Detroit August 6th. Would it be possible for you to give Homestead Grays a twilight date in Detroit on Labor Day. We would book Cubans. As the Presidents of our two leagues own clubs in our leagues and positively refuse to sanction a commissioner who owns no interest in any club, Homestead Grays can expect no dates which comes through the Presidents, as we have consistently attempted to oust them and have a commissioner selected to run both leagues. We can not have Griffith Stadium on any Sundays the Senators are away. We have built up a following there of an average crowd of 10,000 and the fans expect us on all Sundays open in the A. L. schedule. We were not considered when our President selected the dates in Detroit and now we are automatically out of the picture. I think you have attempted to be very fair in allotting dates in Detroit and am not trying to throw a spoke in any wheels. However, I do not think just any club will draw in Detroit consistently, and would like to see Homestead Grays as World Colored Champions given a date. Yours, C. W. Posey.
Both the text and signature have been scripted in pencil and grade "9/10." The "Mr. J. Zellars" to whom this letter is addressed is almost certainly Jack Zeller, who was general manager of the Detroit Tigers at the time. Tom Baird, mentioned by Posey in the first sentence, was a longtime executive with, and eventual owner of, the Kansas City Monarchs. For nearly thirty-five years Cum Posey reigned as one of the central figures in Negro League baseball, first as a player, then as a manager, and finally as an owner. Today, he is best remembered as the architect behind the legendary Homestead Grays clubs of the 1930s and 1940s. Many consider Posey's 1930-1931 Grays the best Negro League club ever assembled. When the Great Depression hit Posey lost many of his top players to Gus Greenlee's Pittsburgh Crawfords, but by 1937 he had rebuilt the club and proceeded to win an unprecedented nine straight pennants. Although he was an important Negro League figure, Posey's signature, especially on a letter, is rare today. The reason for that is twofold: First, signatures of Negro League players, especially team officials, were never actively pursued by early collectors until years after integration. Second, and most important, Posey passed away in 1946 at the age of fifty-five but wasn't elected to the Hall of Fame until 2006. This is one of only a few Cum Posey signed letters we have ever seen. Normally, the only Cum Posey signatures seen in the hobby today are those on Homestead High School diplomas dating from the early 1940s (Posey was one of the directors of the school). This is the first Cum Posey signed letter we have ever offered and given that it is written on Homestead Grays letterhead and features outstanding baseball content, one that would be an extremely significant highlight in even the most advanced world-class Negro League or Hall of Fame autograph collection. The letter (8.5 x 11 inches) displays five horizontal mailing folds and a few light creases. Both pages have been stapled together in the upper left corner. In Excellent condition overall. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $2,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $5,100
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