Sunday, October 25, 2015

'53T custom for long-time pro Quincy Trouppe

For a guy who played professional baseball all over the Western hemisphere nearly year-round for more than 20 seasons between 1930 and 1952, there are surprisingly few decent photos of Quincy Trouppe . . . and even fewer baseball cards.

All of Trouppe's career-contemporary baseball cards are Latin American issues and very tough to come by in today's hobby market. 

Since he played only six games in the major leagues, for Cleveland in 1952, it's easy to see why Topps, Bowman and other U.S. card companies omitted Trouppe.

I've recently completed a 1953 Topps-style custom card of Trouppe. It's based on a press photo I had for many years that was promulgated on the occasion of Trouppe becoming the first black man associated with the St. Louis Cardinals when they hired him as a scout in 1953. During his tenure as a Cards scout he is said to have recommended Ernie Banks and Roberto Clemente to the team, which rejected his advice.

Working up the back biography was not altogether an easy task. The internet resources that exist are not at all consistent concerning Trouppe's baseball travels and other biographical details.

Beyond my usual go-to resource,, let me recommend a pair of sites that I found useful in gathering data. James A. Riley's 1994 The Biographical Encyclopedia of Negro Baseball Leagues offers this: Trouppe bio. #1.

On the Laurens (Ga.) County African-American History blog in 2009, Scott Thompson posted this: Trouppe bio. #2.

I suppose a guy could use Trouppe's 1977 autobiography, 20 Years Too Soon: Prelude to Major League Integrated Baseball, to settle data disputes, but I've learned that you can't take what is written in such books as gospel, either. Still, I'm going to put the book on my winter reading list simply because I'd like to hear about this amazing athlete's career in his own words. 

Further complicating internet research is the fact that the ballplaying Trouppe had a son, Quincy Troupe Jr. (who spells the surname with only one p), who is an accomplished poet and writer. I spent a couple of hours working on an autograph element for the back of my card before noticing the spelling discrepancy. From various sources on the 'net I gather that Quincy Trouppe's surname probably started out as "Troup," the name of a prominent slave-holding family around Dublin, Ga. Shortly the "e" was added, and Quincy added a second "p" while playing in Latin America because he liked the way the locals pronounced it as "troo-pay".

While my custom card creation has slowed some in the past couple of months while I worked on disposing of my three-decades' accumulation of baseball cards and collectibles, with winter setting in I expect to increase my card output. Watch this blog for new releases.

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