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Old 04-09-2020, 11:44 AM
bcbgcbrcb bcbgcbrcb is offline
Phil Garry
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Default Negro League Team/Player Identifications

As we here at Hake's continue to go through the remainder of the Richard Merkin baseball collection, we have spent a great deal of time researching the below three items, two are team images on real photo postcards and the other is an original snapshot photo.

The first postcard with the "V" team pictured, we are quite certain, includes Alejandro Oms sitting in the front row at far right. The very tall player standing behind him at far right appears like it could be Smokey Joe Williams. The stamp box on back dates the postcard to 1908-24 so both players would make sense for this time period. However, we have not been able to verify through SABR, etc. that either one of these players played on an organized team whose city/name started with a "V" during the 1910's or early 1920's. If anyone out there has any thoughts that you would like to share, your contributions would be most welcomed and appreciated.

The second postcard with the "T.S.C." on their uniforms looks to date from the 1920's, although the stamp box is completely covered up/missing due to scrapbook remnants. The player sitting at far right appears very likely to be Cool Papa Bell with the "x" marked on his cap. Again, we have not been able to identify a team with these initials that Bell played for during the 1920's or even early 1930's. Since he is sitting, it's also difficult to estimate height, Bell is 5'9" so not real tall and he appears in this same sitting position in other known team photos. Anyone have any ideas as far as team or recognize any other players? The image is much more clear on this one so it might be much easier than the first postcard.

Lastly the two player snapshot photo with "El Trujillo" on the jerseys, the player on left absolutely appears to be Raymond Brown while the player on the right looks familiar, not a HOF'er but possibly somebody else significant. Again, just like the other two, we have not been able to find any documentation on Brown playing for an El Trujillo team. Any thoughts on this one would also be most appreciated.
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File Type: jpg JB1 (2).jpg (72.9 KB, 297 views)
File Type: jpg RB1.jpg (75.5 KB, 302 views)
File Type: jpg AOB (2).jpg (71.7 KB, 141 views)
File Type: jpg AO3.jpg (72.2 KB, 141 views)

Last edited by bcbgcbrcb; 04-13-2020 at 06:15 PM.
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  #2  
Old 04-09-2020, 06:18 PM
Jason19th Jason19th is offline
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Phil

I am fairly confident that the Trujillo snap shot is Bob Griffith and William Cy Perkins. Uniform is right and both are close to known pictures. Also fits that Griffith was 6 foot five and Williams was his catcher
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Old 04-09-2020, 06:31 PM
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Steve Peissig
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Tough to positively identify the first two but the last photo picture two player from the legendary Ciudad Trujillo team from the Dominican Republic
The jersey says "C. Trujillo".

The players left-right are Bob Griffith and Bill "Cy" Perkins.

I'll take a closer look at the postcards in a little bit.

Steve
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Old 04-09-2020, 06:32 PM
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Steve Peissig
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Ha!! You beat me to it Jason, my kids took my attention for a bit!
That is exactly who they are.
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Old 04-09-2020, 07:22 PM
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Steve Peissig
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Hard to believe that first pc would be Joe Williams, though the guy in the photo is a monster compared to the rest.

Williams only played 3 years in Cuban with 1915-16 being his last year on the island. Alejandro Oms didn't start playing 1917 at the age of 21.

Tried blowing up the pic but its quite blurry but I'm not so sure that is Oms sitting there on the bottom right, as I get closer it looks more like another great Cuban outfielder, Valentin Dreke.

Here's my id's so far:
Standing left to right
Pelayo Chacon, Julian Fabelo, Joseito Rodriguez, Manuel Rigal.

Please let me know if any of these are wrong but I'll keep looking at it........
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Old 04-09-2020, 07:42 PM
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Steve Peissig
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Done looking for tonight, the blurry pics make my eyes tired but that first postcard is a team of all Cuban players, just not sure about the big guy towering over his teammates.
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Old 04-09-2020, 08:50 PM
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Ken Wirt
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Gosh, that sure looks like Oms to me. But I won't swear to it, ha! And the giant behind him does resemble Smokey Joe - particularly his stance (in the few images I've seen). Intriguing. And I believe you are definitely correct about Cool Papa Bell. I have another postcard of him, seated EXACTLY like that, and the face looks good, also. Great items! When do these come up for auction, if you know?
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Old 04-10-2020, 06:26 AM
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You're right on the money, thanks, Jason! Now that you mentioned Griffith, there is writing scribbled on the back, does say Griffith. Seamheads has him listed as 5'10", that was causing me confusion and I couldn't find Brown playing for Trujillo at any time, which is true. Any ideas on the other two p/c's?

Thanks for the input on both, Steve! I'll do some checking over the weekend on your theories there. your efforts are most appreciated.

I was counting on you two guys to help out and you came through, great!

And Ken, as far as your question on when these items might be presented for auction, the two postcards, assuming that key players identified are correct, will be catalogue auction material (next one is scheduled for July with another in November, both subject to change with the pandemic situation that is going on now) while the snapshot could wind up in a Merkin only online auction later this year.
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Old 04-10-2020, 09:08 AM
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Steve Peissig
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Anything on the back of the Stars postcard?
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Old 04-10-2020, 09:29 AM
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Steve:

Just scrapbook remnants and the words post card peeking through in a couple of spots. Canít even see a stamp box.
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Old 04-10-2020, 03:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcbgcbrcb View Post
And Ken, as far as your question on when these items might be presented for auction, the two postcards, assuming that key players identified are correct, will be catalogue auction material (next one is scheduled for July with another in November, both subject to change with the pandemic situation that is going on now) while the snapshot could wind up in a Merkin only online auction later this year.
+1
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Old 04-13-2020, 08:56 AM
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Steve:

Over the weekend, I had a chance to review your suggested identifications, very nice detective work on your part. Standing from left to right, the first player's face is not clear enough to make a positive identification but Chacon is certainly a good possibility. Next to him, Julian Fabelo is a match along with the next player, Joseito Rodriguez being a match as well. Manuel Rigal is also a match next to him. So that's a great start with the first four guys standing on the left. Also, looking at the original image which is quite clear there, the player seated at far right is Oms, I'm 99% sure of it. There is some resemblance to Valentin Dreke but not a match.

When you have some more time, if you are able to identify anyone else, that would be awesome. Also, any thoughts as to the Cuban team name with a "V" in it?

Thanks again for all of your efforts, great job!

Phil
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Old 04-13-2020, 12:07 PM
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Yea no problem Phil, I had a busy weekend so I wasnít able to get to it but itís still not my list.

Iím not 100% for certain but the ďVĒ on the chest could stand for ďVilla ClaraĒ.

And yes the more and more I look at the guy sitting on the far right it does resemble Oms more than Dreke, maybe thatís more wishful thinking on my end as Iím a big Valentin Dreke guy, just look at my avatar!!! Ha!

But hate to burst your bubble but I donít think thatís Smokey Joe but more research will be done.
Steve
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Old 04-13-2020, 01:12 PM
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Sounds good, Steve, thanks. Iíll do some checking on Villa Clara too. Same area as Santa Clara?
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Old 04-13-2020, 01:14 PM
Kenny Cole Kenny Cole is offline
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If you assume that the person sitting on the right in the first photo is actually Oms, it is highly unlikely that the person standing behind him is Smokey Joe. To my knowledge, Williams played for Habana in 1911, Fe in 1912-13, and maybe a couple of games for San Francisco in the second half of of the 1915-16 season, although the San Francisco team dropped out of the league pretty early once the second half started. That's it for his Cuban tenure so far as I'm aware.

Oms would have been, at best, 21 by the second half of 1916 and at least from 1910 to 1914 he is reported to have been playing semi-pro, sugarmill and sandlot ball for Pastora, Dobargans and Santa Clara. From 1915 to roughly 1920, he played mostly for La Tosca, although in 1917 he played for the Cuban Stars East in New York some. He didn't start playing in the Cuban Professional leagues until 1922, so there is no overlap between he and Williams. I suppose, however, this photo could have been of a sugarmill team since those teams were pretty notorious for bringing ringers.
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Old 04-13-2020, 02:38 PM
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Villa Clara is a Province of Cuba and Santa Clara is a city located in the Province.

Good stuff Kenny, itís what I figured from the get-go that Smokey was done playing in Cuba by 1916 and Oms wouldíve been pretty young along with the rest of this team that I can make out.
The size of the ballplayer is what sticks out but the shadowy face does not compare to the great Smokey Joe Williams.

By the way a quick glance at the pic again and I see a young Cheo Ramos next to Oms.

Steve
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Old 04-13-2020, 03:03 PM
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Great info, Kenny, thanks.

Steve:

Rather than me researching dates, do you know about the earliest time that would make sense for each of the guys you mentioned to be playing on a professional caliber team? Maybe thatís a good way to start narrowing down the possible year of the photo? We know it should not extend later than 1924.
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Old 04-13-2020, 05:03 PM
Kenny Cole Kenny Cole is offline
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Rigal was born in 1901 or 1902 and began playing pro ball in 1922 for the Cuban Stars West. He is the youngest of the players mentioned by Steve, with Chacon being the oldest.

I looked at Jorge Figueredo's Cuban Baseball book which has a year-by-year statistical history of the teams and players from 1878-1961, and I found no mention of a professional Cuban baseball team that ever started with a V. I guess people can draw their own conclusions regarding what that might mean.
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Old 04-13-2020, 05:34 PM
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Thanks, Kenny. So it sounds like early 1920’s is more likely than 1910’s.

I just posted a pic of the back of the postcard up in the original post along with a similar time period photo of Smokey Joe Williams. The original image of the big guy on the postcard is so-so, not very clear but not completely unidentifiable.

Do we know of any winter ball seasons from Williams during the 1920’s anywhere?

Last edited by bcbgcbrcb; 04-13-2020 at 06:22 PM.
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Old 04-13-2020, 08:23 PM
Jason19th Jason19th is offline
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I looked again and I do t think that the 3rd player in is Rodriquez - I think that it is Eugenio Morin who played for Santa Clara in the mid 20ís. This would push the photo later and the Oms would make more sense
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Old 06-13-2020, 06:07 PM
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For those who asked about when these items would be presented for auction, both the Ciudad Trujillo photo and Cuban "V" team photo are both in the current Merkin Online Auction ending on June 24th.
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Old 06-14-2020, 02:43 PM
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I've been perusing it. Some cool stuff!
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