1943 Negro League Champion Homestead Grays Team Signed Ball With Josh Gibson
This team-signed baseball from the 1943 Negro League Champion Homestead Grays is, quite literally, a one-of-a-kind item. As in, this is the only known 16-signature specimen celebrating this terrific squad, which has oft been compared to the 1927 Yankees. Signatures on the baseball include those of Josh Gibson (6-7/10), Ray Brown (8/10), Buck Leonard, Sam Bankhead and Cool Papa Bell. Known as the Murderer's Row of the Negro Leagues, the 1943 Homestead Grays defeated the Birmingham Black Barons in seven games to win their first Negro World Series championship, and they had a few other noteworthy accomplishments along the way. For example, during the 1943 season, Josh Gibson hit more home runs at Griffith Stadium than the entire Washington Senators team! On top of that, more of his home runs went over the left- and center-field walls at Griffith Stadium than those of all American League hitters combined! With this in mind, it is little surprise that many consider 1943 to be one of Gibson's greatest seasons. Buoyed by a flawless 7-0 record by pitching ace Ray Brown, whose signature may be the clearest on this ball, the Grays posted a 26-7 record that season, led by Gibson and Leonard at the plate and the speedy Cool Papa Bell (signed "James Bell" on the baseball) on the basepaths. In addition to the 16 autographs, writing on this official American League baseball includes "Champion Homestead Grays 1943," penned by an unknown hand along the seam of the baseball. Three players who have signed this ball, Willie Hubert, Dave Hoskins, and Johnny Johnson, were not officially listed on the 1943 roster, but could have been non-active members. (Record keeping was of highly questionable accuracy at this time.) Arguably one of the top-five baseball teams of all time, the 1943 Homestead Grays have little memorabilia by which to remember them, and with a full PSA/DNA Letter of Authenticity accompanying this item, this may be your only chance to own such a piece! This ball originates from the estate of Dave Hoskins in the1950s. It was given to a family friend where it resided until today.