He had agreed to take the first step toward breaking baseball’s color barrier just five months earlier, agreeing to a minor league contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers’ minor league team in Montreal. Now, a one-of-a-kind handwritten document filled out by Jackie Robinson during his first spring training with the Dodgers organization is coming to market. Heritage Auctions says it could bring $1 million or more.
The legal-sized (14 x 8.5″) one page document is date-stamped “28 Mar 1946” in the upper right corner.
Like thousands of other players over multiple decades, Robinson dutifully filled out the questionnaire that was requested by Bill Weiss of the American Baseball Bureau. Weiss used the responses in the creation of a series of baseball guides he began publishing the year Robinson debuted in the major leagues. Many have been sold at auction over the last several years, but it’s the one penned by Robinson that would have to be considered the most important of all.
In his fountain pen replies to the printed questions, Robinson wasn’t shy about his “ambition in baseball,” writing that it was “to open doors for Negroes in organized ball.” A year later, he had achieved his goal.
In another response, he called Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey the person to whom he owed the most. He also makes reference to his World War II service. Interestingly, Robinson listed “golf” as his favorite sport other than baseball.
The document is part of a framed display that also includes a signed SPORT Magazine photo of Robinson.
The piece will be offered by Heritage in its Winter Platinum Night auction, set to close February 26 and 27.