Historically Significant 1916 Zeenut PCL Jimmy Claxton without Coupon SGC Fair 1.5
The iconic Jackie Robinson may have been baseball's inaugural MLB African-American player, but he was NOT the first "professional" African-American to appear on an American baseball card. That unique distinction belongs to southpaw hurler Jimmy Claxton who was one of the subjects issued by the legendary 1916 Zeenut Pacific Coast League (PCL) set. Canadian born from African-American and Indian descent, the 23-year-old Claxton was a member of the Oakland Oaks PCL roster for a short week in 1916, joining the squad on May 28th and officially breaking the modern-day organized/professional baseball color-barrier some 31 years before Jackie Robinson would join the Brooklyn Dodgers. Unfortunately for Claxton, a relentless slew of complaints and unrest from the fans, opposing players and even his own teammates ultimately resulted in his expedited release a week after joining the Oaks, with Claxton playing in only two games before his sudden departure. Incredible as it may seem, that sole week he was with the team just happened to be when the Zeenut photographer was shooting pictures for his company's popular PCL baseball cards, thus resulting in the immortalized 1916 Zeenut PCL Jimmy Claxton subject that is presented here in an eye pleasing SGC 1.5 holder.
Claxton would go on to pitch for many "semi-professional" and "professional" Negro League teams including the Shasta Limited (where he struck out a Bush League record 19 batters in a single game), Chicago Union Stars, Pollock's Cuban Stars, and Washington Pilots. Most significantly, his representation on this truly classic 1916 Zeenut was a "glimpse" of things to come for an abundance of ultra-talented African-Americans who were deprived of participating in modern major league baseball until 1947. While the technical grade is due to several stray creases, even corner wear, soiling on the flip side and a small "P" notation situated near the upper right corner, the critical Claxton pitching image has fortunately eluded any glaring flaws. Yet, as most esteemed enthusiasts surely realize, the overall superb aesthetics and unquestionable rarity (there are only 11 encapsulated examples on the combined SGC and PSA "Pop" Charts) substantiate why this hallowed masterpiece is worthy of the highest hobby accolades, with this exact specimen selling for nearly $17K roughly three years ago. Indeed, some three decades before Branch Rickey would rock the baseball world by signing Jackie Robinson, a 23-year-old African-American lefthanded twirler named Jimmy Claxton was making history of his own by etching his name as a member of the 1916 Zeenut Oakland Oaks Club!
MIN BID $2,500