Lot 102. Baseballs Signed by 4 Negro Leagues HoFers – Leonard, Bell, Johnson and Dandridge. With Josh Gibson, Buck Leonard (died 1997) was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1972. One of baseball’s top 50 players of all time, he was considered to be the Negro Leagues’ equivalent of Lou Gehrig. James “Cool Papa” Bell (d. 1991) joined Leonard in the Hall of Fame in 1974. A center fielder, he was one of baseball’s fastest players. Judy Johnson (d. 1989), superb at third base, followed in 1975. Ray Dandridge (d. 1994), another third baseman and a strong hitter, was a member of the Class of 1987. Leonard, at No. 47, and Bell, at No. 66, made the “Sporting New’s” list of top 100 players of the 20th century. Each of these four Hall of Fame members signed the sweet spot of an official baseball. Leonard’s signature is mint 9 on a mint ONL William White baseball; Bell’s, nm 7 across the west panel, SS and east panel of another mint William White ball; Johnson’s, mint 9 on an nm-m OAL Bobby Brown ball; and Dandridge’s, mint 9 to gem mint 10 on an ONL White ball. Kevin Keating authenticated all four autographs. The Leonard and Bell signatures come with PSA/DNA Certificates of Authenticity.
Winning Bid $248
Lot 103. James “Cool Papa” Bell Autographed Baseball. Enshrined in the Hall of Fame in 1974, Bell starred in the Negro Leagues from 1922-46. Possessing legendary speed, he would have been a star in the major leagues if the door had been open to him. In 54 games from 1928-48 between Negro Leaguers and white barnstorming teams, he batted .378 in 193 at bats with four home runs and 13 stolen bases. “The Sporting News” ranked him 66th on its 1999 list of greatest baseball players. Bell said being inducted into the Hall of Fame was the greatest honor of his life, but his biggest thrill “was when they opened the door in the major leagues for black players.” He died in 1991. His signature, authenticated by Kevin Keating, is ex-m 6 on an nm-m Wilson Official League ball. The autograph extends for four inches, essentially across the sweet spot and east and west panels. It is without retraces, smudges or other problems. The signature is so broad that we have provided two photos to show it fully.
Winning Bid $92
Lot 645. 7 Negro Leaguers' Autographs - Radcliffe, Benson, Brewer, Etc. Two players signed three 8" x 10" b&w photos - Double Duty Radcliffe and Sherwood Brewer (two different, including a Kansas City Monarchs team photo with a Buck O'Neil facsimile autograph). Gene Benson's signature is on a Ron Lewis postcard. Art "Superman" Pennington autographed a Negro League Legends postcard showing him as a member of the Chicago American Giants' "Murders Row" in 1943. He signed over his name printed on the card. The other autographs are by Bobby Robinson and Armando Vazquez on unlined 3" x 5" index cards. The autographs are nm-m 8 and better. Authenticated by Kevin Keating. Radcliffe, Brewer, Benson and Robinson are deceased. Radcliffe is one of the better Negro Leagues players omitted from the Hall of Fame. When the "Pittsburgh Courier" polled Negro Leagues experts in 1952, they ranked him as the fifth best Negro Leagues catcher of all time, and the the 17th best pitcher.
Winning Bid $25