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.

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    Auction Dates
    May, 2016
    12th-14th Thursday-Saturday
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