Tuesday, July 31, 2018

1988 Pittsburgh Pirates Negro League Stars (Part 3 of 4)

Before I got overwhelmed with work, in April I had been posting a set of cards of Negro Leagues players; this is a team-issued set by the Pirates, in celebration of the Pittsburgh-area Negro Leagues teams and players.  It's a 20-card set, and to try to do a fair job of highlighting each card, I'm showing the set over four posts of five cards each.  I had managed to get the first two posts out in April, and now finally have the third post ready.

Previous posts in this series:
  • Part 1 (Cards 1-5) (Rube Foster, 1913 Homestead Grays, Cum Posey, 1926 Pittsburgh Crawfords, and Gus Greenlee).
  • Part 2 (Cards 6-10) (John Henry "Pop" Lloyd, Oscar Charleston, Smokey Joe Williams, Judy Johnson, and Martin Dihigo).

#11. Satchel Paige.
Leading off the post with card #11, we have the immortal Satchel Paige.  Paige's 1953 Topps card, with the St. Louis Browns, is on my PSA-graded subcollection wantlist, and I'll be thrilled to get it, if I ever do.  Not much needs to be said about Paige, I think: he may well have been the greatest of all time.
#12. Josh Gibson.
Next we have another candidate for greatest of all time, but as a slugger: Josh Gibson.  I once saw a made-for-TV movie about Jackie Robinson, which I think must have been Soul of the Game, starring Blair Underwood as Robinson and Mykelti Williamson as Josh Gibson.  According to the TV movie, Gibson would have been the first black MLB player if not for concerns for his health.  Sure enough, he died in January 1947, just before Jackie Robinson debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
#13. Sam Streeter.
Sam Streeter was a pitcher with several of the Negro Leagues teams, including stints with the Homestead Grays in 1928 and 1929, and the Pittsburgh Crawfords from 1931 through 1936.  Statistics are incomplete, but Baseball Reference records him with a 86-63 record.  There are some whole seasons without stats, though.  The card back says that he was the top vote-getter and starting pitcher at the first black All-Star game.  This is the only card of him listed in the Trading Card Database, and there are no cards of him for sale on COMC.
#14. James "Cool Papa" Bell.
Cool Papa Bell was known for being fast, and was a great center fielder and hitter.  He played in the Negro Leagues from 1922-1946, for a number of teams, including both the Grays and the Crawfords.  He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1976.
#15. Ted Page.
Like many players in the Negro Leagues, Ted Page played for many teams over the years, including the Buffalo Giants, the Newark Eagles, the Brooklyn Royal Giants, the New York Black Yankees, the Philadelphia Stars, and both the Homestead Grays and Pittsburgh Crawfords.  Page is in the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.  He was murdered in 1984, at age 81.

That's it for this installment.  I'll feature the final 5 cards from the set sometime next week.  Thanks for reading.

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