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1946 Jackie Robinson and Hector Racine Photograph and Royals Program
Starting Bid - $300.00, Sold For - $1,495.00
Two items relating to Jackie Robinson's 1946 season with Montreal Royals of the International League, the Triple-A minor league affiliate of the Brooklyn Dodgers. This historic season prepared both Robinson, and the rest of the world, for his historic 1947 Major League debut. 1) Original photograph (5.25 x 4 inches) of Robinson, in his Royals uniform, shaking hands with Montreal Royals president Hector Racine. As president of the Royals, Racine was one of the key figures who paved the way for Robinson's entrance into white professional baseball. It was Racine who, in October of 1945, announced to the world that he had signed Robinson to the Montreal Royals. It was Racine, to his many detractors, who was responsible and took the heat. In many ways these two historic figures were partners in the cause, and this unique photograph captures this spirit of that partnership. This photograph was taken in March of 1946, at Spring Training in Daytona, Florida. This is of extraordinary significance. Because of Robinson's presence on the team, the Royals found themselves unwelcome in several other Florida cities. In Sanford, Florida, the police chief threatened to stop the game if Robinson did not leave the field. In Jacksonville, the stadium was inexplicably padlocked shut on game day. In DeLand, the scheduled day game was called off on account of faulty electrical lighting. Finally, the Royals found a safe haven in Daytona, Florida, and Robinson made his professional debut in organized professional baseball at Daytona's City Island Ballpark on March 17, 1946, in an exhibition game between the Royals and their parent club, the Dodgers. Baseball would never be the same. Today there is a statue of Robinson outside of the stadium, which is now known as Jackie Robinson Stadium. This extraordinary original photograph dates from the earliest and most tenuous days of baseball's struggle to confront the issues of racial inequality and civil rights injustice which faced not just the sport, but the entire nation. It captures a key historical moment in time, when the future of the cause was uncertain, when the danger of following the path ahead was real and all pervasive, and the commitment to move forward, in partnership, was determined, no matter what that future might bring. This is a photo of not one, but two heroes, at the moment of the climax of a war. Though they may seem to be relaxing on a sunny day, sitting on a bench in the spring of 1946 in Daytona Beach, Florida, this photo is actually taken at the height of one of the greatest battles ever fought. When this photo was taken, no one knew what the future would hold. The key figures in the firestorm, Hector Racine and Jackie Robinson, make the battle look easy in this photograph, but time and context are everything. This photograph captures baseball not yet on the cusp of a new era, but at its most controversial and uncertain beginnings, when the waters were just being tested and they were not lukewarm; they were cold; and it was far from a forgone conclusion that Jackie Robinson would ever really be the first black man to play baseball in the Major Leagues, or that he would even survive the 1946 season. We have been unable to locate any other original photos similar to this unique image. The photograph has some light glue marks and notations referring to Daytona Beach on reverse, and is otherwise in Near Mint condition. 2) 1946 Royals program for a game between Montreal and Baltimore, 20 pages, features a team photo with player identifications in the center which includes Robinson. Robinson is also listed in the pre-printed lineups. Unscored. In Excellent condition. Total 2 items. Reserve $300. Estimate $800/$1,200. SOLD FOR $1,495.00
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