Description1945 Brooklyn Brown Dodgers Signed Payroll Checks (55) with Oscar Charleston. Though the lifespan of the Brooklyn Brown Dodgers franchise (and the chaotic United States Negro Baseball League to which it belonged) was a brief two seasons (1945-46), the historical importance of the team resonates to this day as it represented Branch Rickey's cautious first steps toward integrating Major League Baseball. It was the Hall of Fame executive who persuaded Joe Hall to relocate his Hilldale franchise to Brooklyn, and to install Negro League legend Oscar Charleston as manager, so that he could join Dodger scouts in assessing African-American talent in his own backyard. Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, and Don Newcombe were among the players evaluated during this period.
From a financial standpoint, the club was little better than a disaster, typically drawing just 2,000 fans for doubleheaders at their Ebbets Field home park, with Rickey himself commonly among them. But the research proved invaluable, establishing the Brown Dodgers as one of the unsung heroes of baseball history. The fifty-five payroll checks featured here date to May and June of that first season in Flatbush, with each signed by team owner Joe Hall and endorsed on verso by the payee. Most notable among these Brown Dodgers is Hall of Famer Oscar Charleston, who endorses his check twice in bold black fountain pen ink. It's one of just three known Charleston checks, the most recent to surface having sold in the Heritage April 2010 Signature Auction for $35,850. The check remains in fine, undamaged condition with no creasing, staining or tearing. The balance of checks exhibit an occasional center fold line but are otherwise free of noteworthy flaws. A full accounting of the payees/signers will be available on our website at www.HA.com/Sports. Full LOA from PSA/DNA. Full LOA from James Spence Authentication.
Guide Value or Estimate: $25,000 - up.
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