1916 Negro-League Photo - "Pittsburgh Colored Collegians"
Starting Bid - $200, Sold For - $1,058
This rare original photo captures the "Pittsburgh Colored Collegians" posing together in front of the grandstand at Forbes Field in 1916. Thirteen players are pictured here in uniform, each of whom is identified (last name only) in white lettering on his respective image: Harris, Holiday, Campbell, Barbour, Hall, Brown, Clay, Holly, Ford, Hammond, Armstrong, Doran, and Pangburn. (It should be noted that Doran appears to be a white player.) Additional lettering reads "PGH. Colored Collegians" at the top and "Forbes Field July 29/16" at the base. The embossed photographer's credit appears in the lower right corner "Wm. Penn Studio/530 Sixth Ave./Pittsburgh, PA." Our research has failed to uncover much information about the Pittsburgh Colored Collegians other than that they were an independent club and one of the chief local rivals to Cum Posey's Homestead Grays in 1916. That fact, along with the first names of three of the players, was discovered within a single paragraph in author Todd Peterson's historical work Early Black Baseball in Minnesota: The St. Paul Gophers, Minneapolis Keystones and Other Barnstorming Teams of the Deadball Era (McFarland & Company, 2010). In full: "After kicking around with the French Lick Plutos and Chicago Giants the inseparable battery of Lefty Pangburn and Mule Armstrong headed back east around 1913. The pair, along with ace hurler Sell Hall, made up the core of the Pittsburgh Colored Collegians, who did their best to educate the independent nines in the Pennsylvania and Ohio area. Prior to the U. S. entry into the first World War, the Colored Collegians battled a young black club called the Homestead Grays for local supremacy. During their game at Olympic Park in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, the Grays knocked Sell Hall out of the box (considered an almost impossible feat at the time) to win what blackball legend Cum Posey later regarded as his most important victory." Sell Hall appears to be the most prominent player pictured here. Posey obviously thought enough of him since he enticed Hall to join his Homestead Grays in 1917, where he was later recruited by Rube Foster in late summer to play for the Chicago American Giants. Hall's career appears to have been short lived, however, as he disappears from the record books in 1920. Any and all Negro League photos dating prior to 1920 are exceedingly rare and this example is no exception. The photo (9.25 x 7.25 inches) displays outstanding clarity and aside from some light rippling, is in apparent Excellent to Mint condition. The photo is housed in what appears to be its original matting (14 x 12 inches) that displays light staining, toning, and a few surface abrasions. Reserve $200. Estimate $400+. SOLD FOR $1,058