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Lot 497

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Lot Number: 497

Description: Important Page Fence Giants team cabinet photograph c.1897-98. The Page Fence Giants team was started by African American baseball pioneers Bud Fowler (considered to be the first true African American professional baseball player) and Grant "Home Run" Johnson in 1894 in Adrian, Michigan. The team was sponsored by J.Wallace Page, who founded and owned the "Page Woven Wire Fence Co." Interested in using the team as a promotional vehicle, Page would have the players ride to games on bicycles through various towns wearing fire hats and the like. Despite the drudgery of such promotions on the players, the Giants evolved into the finest African American team of the period, winning the 1896 championship series against the Cuban Giants. The offered mounted 7 1/2""x9 1/2"" studio image of the Page Fence Giants pictures Grant Johnson, manager A.S. Parsons, George Taylor, Joe Miller, Pete Burns, William Binga, and John Patterson. Pictured in the top row second from the left is Charlie Grant, who was one of the first true star players in early African American baseball and was highly touted by Major League officials. In 1901, John McGraw, as manager of the Baltimore Orioles, attempted to pass Grant off as a Native American Indian called ""Chief Tokahoma"". He had light skin and straight hair, giving credence to McGraw's plan. Grant had been working as a bellboy at a hotel where spring training took place, and was discovered by McGraw while playing for the hotel baseball team. Alerted by African American fans, Chicago White Sox owner Charles Comiskey exposed McGraw's plan and Grant was prevented from playing in the Major Leagues. Photo itself remains in outstanding original condition with nearly pristine clarity and contrast. Mount remains equally clean with some negligible edge wear, and is stamped, ""C.A. Buss Photographer Jefferson, Wis."" on the reverse. Period ink notation also appears on the back, citing ""Sherman Barton, Normal, ILL."" One of the most significant African American related baseball images extant with the offered exemplar easily ranking as the highest condition grade specimen of the few copies known: NM

Estimated Price Range: ($5,000-$7,500)

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