Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Circa 1903 Branch Rickey & Charles Thomas Ohio Wesleyan Baseball Cabinet Photograph with Important History.

    UPDATE: Please note Branch Rickey is incorrectly identified in text below. He is wearing a fedora, standing at top left.

    If you have a chance, do an Internet search for a wonderful New York Times article by Chris Lamb entitled "Catcher's Tears Were a Likely Inspiration for Rickey," dated April 14, 2012. It tells the story of a special friendship between future Hall of Fame baseball executive Branch Rickey and the sole black player on Rickey's Ohio Wesleyan University baseball team.


    He recalled that during a trip to South Bend, Ind., to play Notre Dame, the team's only black ballplayer, Charles Thomas, was denied a room. Rickey asked whether Thomas could sleep on a cot in his room, and the hotel clerk obliged.

    Later that evening, Rickey said, he saw Thomas sobbing and rubbing his hands, saying: "Black skin. Black skin. If only I could make them white."

    Rickey tried to console Thomas by telling him that racial equality would come.

    "Come on, Tommy, snap out of it, buck up!" he said. "We'll lick this one day, but we can't if you feel sorry for yourself."

    Rickey said the scene haunted him.

    "I vowed that I would always do whatever I could to see that other Americans did not have to face the bitter humiliation that was heaped upon Charles Thomas," he told The A.P.

    Of course, Branch Rickey would become one of the greatest figures in baseball history for bringing Jackie Robinson into the Majors over four decades after making the promise to his dejected friend and teammate.

    This wonderful cabinet photograph finds the two friends seated side-by-side, second and third from left in the middle row. The cardboard mount (10x12") is chipped, but the 6.5x8.5" image is untouched and NRMT. Also here is a high school football photograph that pictures Charles Thomas as one of two blacks on an integrated football team. Dimensions approximately 11x13", with heavy border chipping and scattered damage to the image that doesn't affect Thomas.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2016
    12th-14th Thursday-Saturday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 8
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,021

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Sold on May 13, 2016 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 9 days left to consign to the 2021 August 21 - 22 Summer Platinum Night Sports Auction!

    Learn about consigning with us

    The hammer price for my Mantle card significantly exceeded my admittedly conservative estimations, and I couldn't be more pleased.
    George T.,
    Pinetop, AZ
    View More Testimonials

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search