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    Description

    1950-51 Toleteros Joshua "Josh" Gibson SGC 82 EX/NM+ 6.5 - Pop One, Two Higher. He was known as "the black Babe Ruth" in his day, the most fearsome slugger in the Negro Leagues, but forever locked out of the Majors by the improperly termed "Gentlemen's Agreement" that stood until Jackie Robinson crossed the color line three months after Gibson's early death. Imperfect Negro League record keeping has mixed with Gibson's superior talents to create a folk hero of sorts, with estimates of the Hall of Fame catcher's home run tally reaching as high as 950. Chicago American Giants infielder Jack Marshall insisted for years that Gibson once delivered a Yankee Stadium home run over the third deck next to the left field bullpen, which would stand to this day as the only fair ball driven beyond the confines of the Bronx ballpark in its 85-year history. Satchel Paige asserted, "Josh was the greatest hitter I ever pitched to, and I pitched to everybody. Ted Williams, Stan Musial, Joe DiMaggio, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle. None of them was as great as Josh." Fellow Hall of Famer Leo Durocher also weighed in on Gibson, claiming, "Everything said about him was true, and then some."

    Even the most casual baseball collector is aware that very few artifacts have survived from the days of the Negro Leagues. The Toleteros issues saw circulation only in Puerto Rico. The sets are noted for the inclusion of some of baseball's greatest talents. Their 1950 promotion is particularly noteworthy for its issuance of a Josh Gibson card made public three years after he had died. Perhaps the card company or the Puerto Rican fans felt this was the best display to canonize the man who made such a contribution to their baseball world. After all, more than sixty years later Gibson still holds the Puerto Rican Professional Baseball League record with a .480 batting average. He was idolized by fans in Puerto Rico and considered his play there as the high point of his career.

    Graded SGC 82 EX/MT+ 6.5. This is the third best specimen found in the SGC census from a total population of just sixteen submissions. The image is clear and the centering as perfect as it gets. The reverse depicts a blank back, unmarred by staining or any other marks.


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    May, 2017
    11th-13th Thursday-Saturday
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