Ted Toles Jr.
Rookie Card Year: 2007
Investment Rating: 5.0 (Average)
The history of Negro Leagues Baseball's ties to Major League Baseball must not be forgotten or discredited. The contributions that African Americans made to baseball in the early part of the 20th century was important to the sport's growth. The immense talent that was excluded from MLB robbed generations of fans from seeing the game at its best. While today's game of multi-million dollar contracts and international prospecting have helped, at least to some degree, right the wrongs of the past, we must never forget the men whose perseverance and passion for the game, ultimately brought about much needed change in regards to race and baseball.
Ted Toles Jr. was born on December 4th, 1925. He began his professional baseball career in 1946 with the Pittsburgh Crawfords. A talented left-handed pitcher with a strong fastball and deceptive off-speed pitch, Toles was equally comfortable playing the outfield and had a real prowess at the plate. Unfortunately, the statistical records of the Negro League teams are not nearly as well documented as those of the Majors.
Toles went on to play for the Jackie Robinson All-Stars, Cleveland Buckeyes and the Newark Eagles. In 1951, Toles got his shot at the minor leagues and was assigned to the team in Newcastle, PA of the Mid-Atlantic League. He would go on to play for two additional minor league teams appearing in a total of 358 games. Having suffered an arm injury, Toles had moved to the outfield with some spot work as a utility infielder. Toles accumulated a .287 BA with 434 hits and 18 home runs.
In recent years, collectors have had the opportunity to acquire various collectibles produced of this Negro Leagues all-star. Here is a look at some of the items available today, including trading cards, autographs, commemorative bats and figures.
It's unfortunate that there isn't a more extensive list of Ted Toles baseball cards. However, collectors can be thankful that Topps included him in 2007 Topps Allen & Ginter Baseball. His base card in the set is number 327 and is a short-print. Mini parallel versions include Black Border, Wood, Bazooka Back, and No Number Back. In addition to his base card, Toles also has two autographs in the set. A total of 200 copies were signed in blue while just ten red ink versions exist. Toles has four printing plates in the product as well.
Ted Toles had a bobblehead produced in 2009 as part of a stadium giveaway for the Mahoning Valley Snappers. He has been an usher with the team for a number of years. Manufactured by SGA, the figure depicts Toles as a pitcher.
In the spring of 2013, Hartland LLC. made a Toles figure as part of their Tribute to the Negro Leagues line. The initial run of Hartland figures was limited to 100 copies, all of which are autographed. The company sold out so quickly they produced a second issue, however those are not autographed.
Ted Toles vintage autographed baseballs and those more recently signed are readily available. A willing signer in-person and a frequent guest of regional sports card shows in his home state of Ohio, Toles is said to have the gift of gab and loves reminiscing with baseball fans about his playing days. Toles had a commemorative bat manufactured, documenting his Negro League days. Limited to just ten autographed copies, they are a rare find.