1950 Nat Sweetwater Clifton 1st African American to Play in the NBA in Baseball Uniform Original TYPE I photo PSA/DNA

Nat Sweetwater Clifton (D. 1990) joined the NBA in 1950 as one of the league's first African American players. The six-foot eight, 225 pound forward played seven years with the New York Knicks and one with the Detroit Pistons, averaging a solid 10 points and 8.2 rebounds a game for his career. Clifton also played for the New York Rens, Harlem Globetrotters, Chicago Majors of the American Basketball League, and Chicago American Giants of Negro League Baseball. He was elected to the Naismith Basketball HOF in 2014, twenty four years after his death.

From Baseball Reference – “Known primarily for being the first African-American player in the NBA in 1951, Nathaniel Clifton served in the US army during World War II then became a professional baseball player in 1949. A first baseman, he played for the Chicago American Giants and Detroit Stars in the Negro Leagues that year then moved to the integrating minors with the Pittsfield Electrics of the Canadian-American League. He struck out 31 times in 80 at-bats, but still managed to hit .275 with 3 homers. He batted .449 when he did not strike out. He also played for the Central League's Dayton Indians, where he batted .322 with 11 homers despite striking out frequently. He was 4th in the CL in average and tied for 9th in homers even though his time was limited due to his playing on three other teams that year."

In his second season as a pro baseball player, Sweetwater hit .304/~.368/.464 for Wilkes-Barre Indians in the Eastern League. After that year, though, he became a full-time basketball player, twice finishing in the top 10 in rebounds and making one All-Star team while making history as a basketball pioneer. In 1958, after his basketball career ended, he played for a minor all-black baseball team with former Harlem Globetrotters teammate Goose Tatum and appeared in the East-West Game.”

Offered is a very rare original shot from 1950 of Nat "Sweetwater" Clifton of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team fame as he worked out as a member of the Wilkes Barre Indians in minor league baseball. The paper caption on the back noted he had been signed by the New York Knicks to be just the third black professional basketball player in the NBA! An important photograph of a pioneer black athlete and the first we have ever seen of him in a baseball uniform!

Encapsulated Authentic as a TYPE 1 photo by PSA/DNA

Item: 13555

Price: $1,100.00
1950 Nat Sweetwater Clifton 1st African American to Play in the NBA in Baseball Uniform Original TYPE I photo PSA/DNA