Hampered by unkempt venues and modest salaries, Negro Leaguers were virtually ignored by the mainstream, eventually departing with tales and incredible feats of which we’ll never know. Hall of Fame executive Alex Pompez, however, was among the circuit’s few prosperous figures. Among the rarest of Negro League artifacts, Pompez’ autograph is arguably the most potent example extant on this 1944 correspondence. The owner of the Cuban Stars and New York Cubans franchises from 1916 until 1950, Pompez “supplemented” his income as the owner of a Manhattan cigar shop and as an illegal “numbers” banker. Composed by Pompez (d.1974) on an 8-1/2 x 11” sheet of New York Cubans stationery, the letter is to one of his players and has great baseball content. This item has a reserve (estimated value: $4,500-$6,000). More on website
The letter is dated “May 12th, 1944” and addressed to John R. Williams. It reads (in full):
Dear Friend Williams,
Both of your kind and attentive letters were received and I was more than glad to acknowledge the great interest that you are showing in behalf of my club and the Negro National League as a whole.
My delay mainly was because I plan on being in Detroit Tuesday of next week and I had intended on seeing you at that time. We have had a good spring trip through the Southwest considering rain and whatnot and we are endeavoring as usual to give the Baseball public the best that baseball can afford. I feel that your work their in Detroit has been exceptional and I do feel that you carry on with added support.
Again thanking you for your interest and attentiveness. Will be in Detroit Tuesday of next week May 16th see you then.