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1938 Homestead Grays Program with Josh Gibson, Buck Leonard, and Ray Brown
Starting Bid - $400, Sold For - $5,581
Extraordinary and extremely rare eight-page souvenir program issued in 1938 in commemoration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Homestead Grays, the greatest franchise in Negro League history. The Homestead Grays commemorated their twenty-fifth season of professional ball by holding a special celebration on August 7, 1938, at Forbes Field. In addition to the club's regular-season game against the Newark Eagles, fans were also treated to an exhibition game between the "Grays Old Timers" and the "Ex-Bellevue Team." The offered program, issued and available for sale for ten cents at the game only on that historic celebration day, features a panoramic team photo of the Grays that spans both the front and back cover. Seventeen members of the 1938 Grays are pictured in uniform posing on the field, including Hall of Famers Josh Gibson, Buck Leonard, and Ray Brown. The four interior pages are comprised of congratulatory messages offered by both individuals and local businesses. The interior front cover reprints a resolution adopted by the Council of the Borough of Homestead to appoint a committee to attend the anniversary celebration on August 7th, while the entire interior back cover provides a full page of text that is a tribute to and brief history of the franchise. The Grays enjoyed a long history of success on the diamond, but it wasn't until the 1930s that the club evolved into one of baseball's elite franchises. The team won Eastern Championships in both 1930 and 1931, with the 1931 club considered by many to be the best Negro League team ever assembled. After a short period of economic downturn, the club returned to dominance in 1937, winning an amazing nine consecutive Negro National League pennants. The club won its final pennant in 1948 before disbanding in 1950. This is both a rare (we have never seen another) and highly significant Negro League program dating from glory days of the Homestead Grays' historic dynasty, celebrating the success and rich history of the team. The program (6.25 x 9.5 inches) is in remarkably fine condition, displaying only light handling wear and a few extremely minor edge tears. In Very Good to Excellent condition. Reserve $400. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $5,581
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