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Legacies: Collecting America's History at the Smithsonian, by Steven Lubar and Kathleen M. Kendrick
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Negro Leagues baseball, 1937Negro Leagues baseball, 1937

More than just material things, they communicate ideas, symbolize values, and convey emotions. Consider the changing meanings invested in this baseball from the Negro Leagues East-West all-star game of 1937. Buck Leonard, first baseman for the Homestead Grays, hit a home run to help the East win, 7-2, and kept this baseball as a souvenir of the game. In 1947, when racial integration of major-league baseball effectively ended the need for the Negro Leagues, this baseball became a piece of history. In 1972 the ball became a collector's item when Leonard was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Leonard saved this ball for nearly forty-five years before finally donating it to the Smithsonian in 1981.

See also: African American History, Baseballs, Popular Culture Memorabilia, Sports Memorabilia

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