Sure, card companies have made an attempt to include Negro League players in some of the modern products, but there are still loads of great players who have generally gone unnoticed including long time St. Louis Stars legend, and Baseball Hall of Famer, Willie Wells.
Wells spent the beginning of his career, from 1924 to 1931, with the St. Louis Stars. After the team was dissolved, he bounced around to various teams before spending the prime of his career with the Newark Eagles. He also spent time playing in Mexico where he was given the nickname "El Diablo" or "The Devil". By all accounts, Wells was an intense baseball player who had five star talent as a shortstop.
There are some great stories about Wells floating around, but none of them seem to have inspired a major card maker to put Wells into a product. I was a little dismayed to find that every card of Willie Wells is some sort of oddball. So, I finally settled on something that is "baseball-cardish" to add to my collection of Willie Wells. After all, as a native St. Louisan it's hard to have a card collection full of the finest baseball players from the Cardinals, a few Browns too, and not also put Willie Wells into that same category.
Here's what I picked up........
This is actually a Perez-Steele postcard from 1998. I know that a lot of collectors use these cards for autographs, but I was happy to see that they have actually included players from the Negro Leagues in several of their sets. There is a print run of roughly 10,000 of each card, so price and availability are of little concern with these cards. Dick Perez's artwork has long been around the game, modern collectors would know him best has the man who painted the Diamond Kings cards in the 1980s for Donruss, and I am happy to finally add a card of Willie Wells to my collection.