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    The First American Baseball Card Featuring an African-American Player!

    1916 E137 Zeenut Jimmy Claxton SGC EX 5 - The Finest SGC Graded Example! It was in the late 19th Century when the action of one man would create a barrier that kept African-American players out of organized baseball. During the proceeding 70-odd years, baseball did see players who were of Latin decent, Cuban and Native-American take the field. This accommodation of taking part in "our" National Pastime was not to be afforded to African-Americans. The narrow-minded and ignorant would say it was African-Americans who missed out. The immense talents by Negro Leaguers is proof positive it was baseball that truly missed out.

    The color-barrier that imprisoned organized baseball was penetrated in May of 1916 in Oakland, CA. Granted, it was for a very brief time but Canadian-born Jimmy Claxton who was European, African- and Native-American decent took to the mound. It was his claim of being Native-American that got him a spot on the Oakland Oaks of the Pacific Coast League. The league was a minor league system but it was really consider the "major leagues" of the west coast. Without fanfare or applause, history happened on May 28, 1916 when Claxton pitched in not one but two games for the Oaks. His play was not HoF level but nerves certainly affect every rookie. It may have been just a couple innings but history was being made and no stats book can take that away from him. His tenure lasted either one week or one month depending on your source. Upon learning of his true heritage, the Oaks released him. It would be another three decades before Jackie Robinson brought the barrier down for the good of us all.

    Remarkably, the Collins-McCarthy Co. had a photographer taking pictures of the 1916 team for their now annual baseball card promotion for their "Zee-Nut" candy the same week Claxton was with the team. From the 1916 E137 Zeenut series we present the only card featuring Claxton and the first baseball card in the U.S.A. to feature an African-American player! It is as incredibly significant as it is rare. Graded SGC EX 5. As with most Zeenut cards - 95% to 98% by most estimates - the original coupon has been removed but very nicely. The combined PSA and SGC census reports account for just nine examples!


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    Auction Dates
    December, 2019
    5th-7th Thursday-Saturday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 27
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