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Willard Brown
(b. June 26, 1915 - d. August 4, 1996)
Inducted in 2006
1948-9 Toleteros Willard Brown SGC 20 FAIR
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Comments: Unfortunately, I didn't predict Willard Brown's election to the Hall of Fame in 2006 and therefore didn't have any card for him. After the news I searched for possibilities and decided a'48-9 Toleteros issue would be the best choice for my collection. I love the image - looks like he's got a big wad of chewing tobacco. But, it was going to take some time to save up enough dough to purchase a copy. In the meantime a tribute card would have to do. A 1972 Puerto Rican sticker of Brown was a nice fit and I purchased an EX copy on eBay in February of 2007 and submitted to PSA the following month. While looking for opportunities to upgrade this card, I also continued to look for an affordable Toleteros example. In October, 2008 my first chance came up in a Mile High auction - a SGC 40 example but I lost when the bidding went almost 2X what I had saved up. In January 2012, a SGC 10 copy showed up on eBay and I was outbid again - a very frustrating loss. In February I attempted to upgrade my 1972 tribute card with a raw example purchased on eBay. The big auction house seller described the item as mint. Upon arrival it was more VG-EX. I requested a refund or a replacement and they sent me another card. This one was slightly better but still not mint and no better than the PSA 5 example I already owned. In March, 2012 another opportunity came up to purchase a Toleteros card. I reached out to a hobby friend who was parting with cards from their personal collection, including lots of Negro League items. Sure enough they had an affordable example, which presented much better than the grade assigned. The price was right and I didn't hesitate to purchase this SGC 20 card. There's a little bit of paper loss on the reverse with some glue staining - otherwise this card is fantastic.
Card Details Below:  
Year(s): 1948-9
ACC Set Designation:
Set Name: Toleteros
Country: Puerto Rico
Description: This was the first of three annual issues during the Puerto Rican League winter seasons. Cards are about 1-1/2" X 2-1/4", printed in sepia on thin cardboard. Backs are printed in black-and-white and have a play designation for use in a card game. They are numbered, but the numbers are not unique to specific players. Several of the cards were issued in photographic format, rather than printed. It is believed these are scarcer than the regular cards. An album was issued with the set, and like most contemporary Caribbean issues, cards are usually found in well-used condition with evidence of past mounting. Toleteros is roughly translated as "sluggers."