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Negro League Baseball Ernie Banks, Curtis Thompson, and who else?

I still don't believe we can put pictures directly in messages with Android phone so the best I can do is add them as attachments.

I finally decided to start looking more into this ball in my possession, given to my friend from a former Negro League player who married a woman from the small town nearby.

I have some questions I am working to get answers to, such as who was the player and what team(s) did he play for.

I believe these are all Former KC Monarchs players. The ball player who gave this to my friend was apparently on the Monarchs. Unfortunately my friend is near 77 and his memory began fading in the past year. He told me who the player was about 2.5 years ago when my wife and I befriended him. I will bet my life that I will get this figured out by tomorrow since the gal he married was from one of the larger farming families in the area. One older farmer isn't sure but he thinks the former player is deceased and thought his name was Henry.

The two signatures I can pinpoint thus far are the following (AS IT IS WRITTEN ON THE BALL):

Ernie Banks "Mr. CUB"
Curtis Thompson

There is another that appears like "Baby Matthews" and Jim Robinson and there are a few more I can't figure out yet.

I looked up the history on Henry "Curtis" Thompson and enjoyed what information I could find. Sounds like he was one of the first to play on MLB teams and likely had to bite his tongue like almost every ball player who wanted a shot had to do. Most of these guys also had to serve in war before, during, or after their baseball career.

Not too sure what to do with the ball. There is no COA. I have no idea how the company put together these balls and whether there are more similar to this one or more of other teams.

Let me know what you guys think. Larry is willing to part ways with it finally and I'm not sure if this is something I should purchase from him or not. I would only want it because it was personally gifted by a player to a person who has become part of my families life, but with that being said, there's 25,000+ other items that would serve a similar sentiment purpose. If the ball is valued more than a certain amount then I would rather let a collector have their hands on it and I'll settle for a photo of it.


  • JMS1223JMS1223 Posts: 1,093 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 29, 2023 6:26PM

    I was hoping to see Buck O’Neil on there but I don’t see his signature. Our local library did an exhibit on him recently so I think I would had recognized his signature since it was featured on some of the displays. Unfortunately I am not too familiar with the other KC Monarchs players so can’t help you much with those. Cool item. Thanks for sharing.

  • JBKJBK Posts: 14,491 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 29, 2023 7:28PM

    It looks like the package was already cut open, so why not take it out of the package?

    In any case, it looks like a commemorative ball that someone got signed.

    Actually, the signatures don't look especially unique or distinctive enough to me. I personally would not make any assumptions about that ball or the signatures.

  • JolleyWrencherJolleyWrencher Posts: 594 ✭✭✭

    Thank you. I appreciate real thoughts. I would hate to advise him to get it authenticated if the autographs are not real or if they are real but would get a low grade. I don't know how the number grades on autos even works to be honest. How fresh/faded they are. How complete they are...if one player wrote over top of another, looks like I have some work to do here.

    The Banks signature is the only one I recognized and, to my untrained eye, it looked like other "Mr. Cub" autos he did. Becaude of Larry's good story, my desire of wanting it to be true is surely to cause a personal bias. I'm guessing all these signatures were done when these gentleman were 60+ years old so I need to consider this when doing comparisons.

    Thank you for taking the time to view the attachments. I never looked to see if it was opened before and I'm not sure how to tell. It's tucked away for the night but I'll try to find what you noticed. The plastic case has a yellow hue. If it hadn't ever been opened then does it make a difference? Maybe only if selling it raw, assuming real autos, since grading would require removing the package I assume.

  • burghmanburghman Posts: 787 ✭✭✭✭
    edited April 30, 2023 5:48AM

    Definitely doesn’t seem like one of those souvenir balls with pre-printed autos - they’re too bold and not laid out like the Yankees souvenir ball I have and others I’ve seen.

    I see Herb Simpson, Carl Long, Joe Scott and Boby (Bob) Matthews on there - they’re on the Wikipedia pages for Negro League players. Al Burrow seems pretty clear but he’s not on that list - maybe not a player?

    I don’t know much about any of the players except Banks. You could probably sell it to a Cubs fan but would likely need the PSA/DNA auth. Given that his auto is cut in half by the plastic case, you may need to take it out (or maybe PSA would).

    Another option might be to check with the Negro League museum in KC - they may have some information about it or some interest in doing something with it?


  • JBKJBK Posts: 14,491 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I don't see anything on the packaging to indicate that this was sold as a signed collectable.

    The left side (and maybe the right) of the package looks like it was cut the whole length, and would just pull apart.

    I'd concentrate first at the Ernie Banks to see if it's real.

    The signatures all look a little too similar to me, but maybe that's because they were all signed with a fat Sharpie.

  • burghmanburghman Posts: 787 ✭✭✭✭

    There’s a similar item from “Fotoball” on eBay: https://www.ebay.com/itm/385233131225. Same wording on the back though a different format, and from 1997 instead of your 1995. No autos, so JBK may be onto something - someone probably removed it to get the autos. That blurb on the ball about the origins on the team is almost exactly the same as some websites out there (http://www.nlbpa.com/the-negro-league-teams/philadelphia-stars#:~:text=The Philly Stars originated from,, and "Slim" Jones.)


  • JolleyWrencherJolleyWrencher Posts: 594 ✭✭✭

    Thank you Jim. After the help you all have given it seems the ball was purchased, opened and signed, and put back in.

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