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Back in the pre-integration days the biggest names in both the white and black games could be found in the Puerto Rico Winter League, a virtual second home for poorly-paid Negro league stars who found themselves treated like kings. The legendary Satchel Paige even married a Puerto Rican girl (never mind he already had a wife in Pittsburgh). And Josh Gibson couldn't have been feeling any pain the day he was arrested at the San Juan airport -- drunk and naked. These two unbelievably historic balls revive those balmy days and nights on the island, covered as they are with the signatures of a passel of elite Negro leaguers during their annual sojourn. The biggie is Paige, who inked one ball along with seven others on Santurce's "Los Canrejos" team, signing "Satchell Paige." Other names include Willard Brown (who was called "Esa Hombre," or "That Man"), Vic Harris, Bob Thurman, Ford Smith and Charlie Pinero. The other ball, marked "12/1/51" is apparently a later ball and carries 26 signatures with the likes of Dick Seay, George Scales, Johnny Davis and future Dodger Jim "Junior" Gilliam. The consignor's father was friends with the owner of the Santurce team, Pedrin Zorilla. All signatures in blue ink and all readable, rating 7s and 8s. The lightly tan ONL balls are VG-EX.
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