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Old 03-08-2017, 08:57 PM
Topnotchsy Topnotchsy is offline
Jeff Lazarus
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Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 128
Default 1953 Jackie Robinson Signed Barnstorming Ball w/Spec Bebop (midget entertainer)

Edit: Mystery Solved

I won this baseball signed by Jackie Robinson and a number of other players. It is a J.B. Martin Negro American League baseball and it is signed by an interesting mix of players.

The baseball is from the 1953 "Major League All-Star" Barnstorming Tour. The tour was the first that features white players on the team, and led to controversy in Birmingham, Alabama when the team played a game with all the white players on the bench due to a ban on blacks and whites playing together.

Beyond Robinson, the biggest baseball names who signed are Hodges and Maury Wills, but probably the most interesting signature (in my opinion) simply says "Bebop." Spec Bebop was a midget performer who used to perform with "King Tut" at Indianapolis Clowns games. Bebop and King Tut were performers who were part of the "roster" for the 1953 tour.

Signatures:

Percy Smith - Pitcher Indianapolis Clowns
Jackie Robinson - Brooklyn Dodgers 1947-1956
Gil Hodges - Dodgers 1943-1961
John Glenn - Dodgers Minor Leaguer 1950-1960
Luke Easter - Was a part of Jackie's Barnstorming Tour. Homestead Grays 1947-48, Cleveland Indians 1949-1954.
Bob Young
Maury Wills - Dodgers 1951-1959 (minors) 1959-1966 (majors)
Clyde McNeal - Negro and Mexican Leagues 1945-57. Dodgers Minor League 1953-57
Edit: Ralph Branca not "Ralph Brown"
"BeBop" - Spec Bebop

Thanks in advance!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Jackie 1.jpg (8.8 KB, 269 views)
File Type: jpg Jackie 2.jpg (13.6 KB, 273 views)
File Type: jpg Jackie 3.jpg (12.1 KB, 273 views)
File Type: jpg Jackie 4.jpg (13.0 KB, 274 views)

Last edited by Topnotchsy; 03-19-2017 at 01:22 AM.
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Old 03-09-2017, 08:03 AM
khkco4bls khkco4bls is offline
Kevin O'Gara
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Wow that's an awesome baseball where did you win that

Last edited by khkco4bls; 03-09-2017 at 08:04 AM.
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  #3  
Old 03-09-2017, 08:19 PM
Topnotchsy Topnotchsy is offline
Jeff Lazarus
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Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 128
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Quote:
Originally Posted by khkco4bls View Post
Wow that's an awesome baseball where did you win that
Won it from Classic Auctions. They mostly sell hockey stuff, but they had this ball.



I think I figured out where the ball is from an article by the late Bob Lemke on his blog.

Jackie used to lead a barnstorming team after each season. In 1953, for the first time, the team included white players. Among those white players was Gil Hodges and Bobby Young (along with Ralph Branca who did not sign this ball.) Maury Wills, who was in the Minors then, was also on the team. Interestingly Wills did some pitching for the team.
http://boblemke.blogspot.com/2011/05...as-racist.html


I found another link mentioning Luke Easter and John Glenn:
http://pilotonline.com/news/local/hi...f13204fa4.html

If anyone has a copy of the program from the tour, please let me know. I'd love to pick up a copy, but even if not I'd love to know the full roster.

Here is a picture of the program.



Thanks!
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File Type: jpg 1953 Jackie Barnstorming Tour.jpg (68.7 KB, 200 views)

Last edited by Topnotchsy; 03-09-2017 at 08:24 PM.
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Old 03-09-2017, 08:39 PM
Topnotchsy Topnotchsy is offline
Jeff Lazarus
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Mystery solved on the last autograph!!

The listing thought that "Bebop" might be Harold “Bee-Bop” Gordon. I found a couple of Gordon signatures online and they looked far too neat to fit.

But I came across a 1953 Barnstorming roster and there is a Spec Bebop who played the position of ENT.

A quick Google search confirmed that Spec Bebop was a midget performer who used to perform for the Indianapolis Clowns.

I can't imagine there are too many autographs out there from the comedy element from the Negro Leagues.

Really excited about this!

http://www.milb.com/news/print.jsp?y...=.jsp&sid=t556
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Old 03-19-2017, 01:21 AM
Topnotchsy Topnotchsy is offline
Jeff Lazarus
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It occurred to me that the player that the auction referred to as "Ralph Brown" is probably Ralph Branca who was on the tour.

Would love some opinions on this. I attached a picture of an old Branca autograph which in my non-expert opinion looks pretty similar.

I appreciate any thoughts. Thanks!

Last edited by Topnotchsy; 03-19-2017 at 01:48 AM.
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