A ticket to an 1867 meeting of baseball’s first national governing association that set the tone for racial segregation in pro ball for the next 80 years is coming to auction.
Among the items in the Wednesday sale by Saco River Auction Co. in Maine, the ticket was for admittance to a gathering in Philadelphia of the National Association of Base-Ball Players. The group’s nominating committee denied a membership request from the Philadelphia Pythians, a highly successful team made up of African-Americans that had petitioned for membership.
It’s the only one in existence according to John Thorn, Major League Baseball’s official historian.
During the December convention, the committee voted unanimously to bar any club with “one or more colored persons.”
Placing a value on the ticket is difficult because none have been offered for sale until now. “Collectors may not be drawn to it, but historians are drooling over it,” Thorn told the Associated Press.
The ticket—and an 1870 Philadelphia A’s season ticket that’s also being sold—were mislabeled as railroad memorabilia when they were among a group of miscellaneous items in a box purchased for $60 at a sale in Massachusetts, according to this story.