Is Louis Sockalexis the Oldest Player to Get a Rookie Card?

Who is Louis Sockalexis?

"The greatest natural talent I have ever encountered in this game."
- John McGraw -- Manager, New York Giants

There were tales of his 600-foot homerun, the baseball he threw across the Penobscot River (Maine), his three no-hitters while pitching for Holy Cross and Notre Dame, his six stolen bases in one game and the 400-plus foot throws measured by Harvard professors.

Before there was a Jim Thorpe, there was Louis Sockalexis, a Native American from the Penobscot Tribe who debut for the Cleveland Spiders in 1897. An immediate success, he hit .338 with eight triples and stole 16 stolen bases in his first 60 games. He had limited playing time over the next two years because of a severely injured ankle and was forced to retire at the age of 27 in 1899.

And the story that is still debated to this day, goes a little something like this: In 1915, two years after Sockalexis' death, The Cleveland Baseball Club (then called the "Naps" after baseball great Napoleon Lajoie) changed its team name to the "Indians" in honor of Sockalexis. There is some debate as to whether the name change was, in fact, a nod to Sockalexis.

Regardless of how the story goes and in honor of breaking barriers and being a pioneer, Topps included the first Louis Sockalexis baseball card in 2003 Topps 205 Baseball.

2003 Topps 205 Louis Sockalexis

To learn more about this baseball pioneer, check out the book Indian Summer: The Tragic Story of Louis Francis Sockalexis, the First Native American in Major League Baseball by Brian McDonald

2010 (BB) TRISTAR Obak #96 Louis Sockalexis/Jim Toy
2010 (BB) TRISTAR Obak #96 Louis Sockalexis/Jim Toy
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1901 Sporting Life Baseball Magazine Native American Louis Sockalexis
1901 Sporting Life Baseball Magazine Native American Louis Sockalexis
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2002 LOUIS SOCKALEXIS THE FIRST CLEVELAND INDIAN BASEBALL BOOK (INV. 023)
2002 LOUIS SOCKALEXIS THE FIRST CLEVELAND INDIAN BASEBALL BOOK (INV. 023)
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2003 Topps 205 Baseball Card #145 Louis Sockalexis FY XRC
2003 Topps 205 Baseball Card #145 Louis Sockalexis FY XRC
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2003 Topps 205 Cycle Cleveland Indians Baseball Card #145 Louis Sockalexis FY
2003 Topps 205 Cycle Cleveland Indians Baseball Card #145 Louis Sockalexis FY
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2003 Topps 205 Polar Bear Indians Baseball Card #145 Louis Sockalexis FY
2003 Topps 205 Polar Bear Indians Baseball Card #145 Louis Sockalexis FY
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2003 Topps 205 #145 Louis Sockalexis Cleveland Indians Spiders RC Baseball Card
2003 Topps 205 #145 Louis Sockalexis Cleveland Indians Spiders RC Baseball Card
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2003 Topps 205 #145 Louis Sockalexis Cleveland Indians Spiders RC Baseball Card
2003 Topps 205 #145 Louis Sockalexis Cleveland Indians Spiders RC Baseball Card
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2003 Topps 205 #145 Louis Sockalexis Cleveland Indians Spiders RC Baseball Card
2003 Topps 205 #145 Louis Sockalexis Cleveland Indians Spiders RC Baseball Card
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2003 Topps 205 #145 Louis Sockalexis Cleveland Indians Spiders RC Baseball Card
2003 Topps 205 #145 Louis Sockalexis Cleveland Indians Spiders RC Baseball Card
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2003 Topps 205 #145 Louis Sockalexis Cleveland Indians Spiders RC Baseball Card
2003 Topps 205 #145 Louis Sockalexis Cleveland Indians Spiders RC Baseball Card
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2003 Topps 205 Mini Brown Cycle Back 145 Louis Sockalexis Cleveland Spiders Card
2003 Topps 205 Mini Brown Cycle Back 145 Louis Sockalexis Cleveland Spiders Card
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2003 Topps 205 Mini Brown Cycle Back 145 Louis Sockalexis Cleveland Spiders Card
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2003 Topps 205 Mini Brown Cycle Back 145 Louis Sockalexis Cleveland Spiders Card
2003 Topps 205 Mini Brown Cycle Back 145 Louis Sockalexis Cleveland Spiders Card
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LOUIS SOCKALEXIS 1899 Cent Brand New Coin Collector Art Trade Card
LOUIS SOCKALEXIS 1899 Cent Brand New Coin Collector Art Trade Card
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2003 Topps 205 Complete Your Set 1-250
2003 Topps 205 Complete Your Set 1-250
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