Spring, 2019 Premier Auction
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 4/14/2019

One of the more interesting early "Negro League" endeavors was the International League of Independent Professional Baseball Clubs.  Organized in 1906 by a gentleman named William Freihofer, the league was an integrated league that included a white team, two black teams and two Cuban teams.  Freihofer, a successful Philadelphia-area businessman, was the president of the league and owner of the league's Philadelphia Professionals team - the league's white team.  The "league" was conceived as more of a tournament, with each of the teams playing 20 games against one another at Columbia Park and the Baker Bowl in Philadelphia.  The teams were to compete for the "Freihofer Cup," a beautiful trophy pictured in Sol White's Official Base Ball Guide.

The teams supplemented their "season" by playing a variety of non-league games, and, over the course of the season, two of the original teams dissolved, the teams ultimately completing eight-game seasons.  Several games into the season, the famed Philadelphia Giants joined the league and became the immediate favorites to win the Cup.  The Giants did, indeed, finish in first place with a 7-1 record, and defeating the Cuban X Giants for the Cup.  While prospects for the league seemed strong, the 1906 season was the only season the league would play.  The following year, the Philadelphia Giants and Cuban X-Giants would join several other teams in forming the National Association of Colored Baseball Clubs of the United States and Cuba.

The Championship game, played on September 3 of 1906, drew more than 12,000 fans to Columbia Park to see the great Rube Foster defeat the X-Giants by a 3-2 margin.  In addition to Foster, the Philadelphia Giants featured Hall of Famers Sol White and Pete Hill, while the Cuban X-Giants included Hall of Famer Pop Lloyd, Cuban Hall of Famers Luis Bustamente, Regino Garcia, Jose Munoz, Emilio Palomino and Rogelio Valdes and in his first professional season, future star catcher Bruce Petway.  

Presented here is an attractive trophy baseball commemorating that game, as presented by William Freihofer to the Philadelphia Giants, ostensibly along with the Freihofer Cup.  The ball is painted gold, the writing added in black paint.  Well-preserved, the ball does exhibit some scuffs on the rear panels, along with some minor abrasions consistent with its age.  However, the piece is in remarkable condition in comparison with similar balls.  The ball was featured in a lot of material related to Rube Foster in a public auction more than a decade ago, and has resided in the collection of an advanced hobbyist since.    

An extremely significant piece of history, commemorating the Championship game of the one and only season of the integrated professional league, a game which featured four future Hall of Famers and five Cuban Hall of Famers.  

Outstanding 1906 Freihofer Cup Negro League Trophy Ball Presented to the Philadelphia GiantsOutstanding 1906 Freihofer Cup Negro League Trophy Ball Presented to the Philadelphia GiantsOutstanding 1906 Freihofer Cup Negro League Trophy Ball Presented to the Philadelphia Giants
Outstanding 1906 "Freihofer Cup" Negro League Trophy Ball Presented to the Philadelphia Giants
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