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The Glory of Their Times Handwritten Letter Collection: Meyers, Austin, Crawford, and Marquard
Starting Bid - $300, Sold For - $588
Collection of four handwritten letters, each of which is authored and signed by a player immortalized in Lawrence Ritter's classic 1966 baseball book The Glory of Their Times : Chief Meyers, Jimmy Austin, Sam Crawford, and Rube Marquard. Ideally, the Jimmy Austin letter, dating from 1964, is actually written to Ritter and references their recent interview for the book! 1) Chief Meyers. Four-page letter (on each side of a fold-over sheet), dated June 1, 1914, written to the Goldsmith Sporting Goods Company, which was located in Cincinnati. Meyers writes to Goldsmith asking for a replacement glove and lets the company know that its product is looked upon favorably by other Major League players, including future Hall of Famer Roger Bresnahan. In full: "Goldsmith Bro's - Dear Sir: My mitt is certainly a grand success, except that the stitching is ripped out in the upper part of the pocket, and I fear it will not last until we play Cin. I would like to send it on to you, but I can't get along without it. Please send me a new one, so that I can send it on to you, for repairs. I saw Mr. Bresnahan in Chicago and showed him my mitt and told him of its good points, and he wants one. So it would be a good idea to see him when he plays Cin. Mr. Erwin of Brooklyn told me, when I had showed him my mitt that he would call upon you when his team plays Cin. Mr. Johnson, our catcher is very much pleased with his mitt, and he is now a booster. It won't be long before this new model is established in the big leagues, or I am very much mistaken. Trusting to hear from you very soon, I am most respectfully, 'Chief' Meyers. Polo Grounds. N.Y. City. June 1st 14." Both the text and signature have been penned in blue fountain pen and grade "10" overall (a few words, but not the signature, are affected by minor bleeding). Meyers was in Philadelphia for the start of four-game series at the time of this letter. He had been in Cincinnati less than two weeks earlier and wasn't scheduled to return to the "Queen City" until July 20th, hence his urgent plea for the shipment of a replacement catcher's mitt. We do not know how many Chief Meyers letters exist today, especially those dating from his active baseball career, but we can't imagine a finer example than that offered here. Meyers was the Giants starting catcher from 1910 through 1915. He passed away in 1971. The letter (5.25 x 6.75 inches, folded) displays a small amount of surface-paper loss and what appears to be adhesive residue near the spine, most likely resulting from it having once been mounted in an album; otherwise Ex. 2) Jimmy Austin. One-page letter, dated April 21, 1964, written to author Lawrence Ritter. This letter was written by Austin shortly after he was interviewed by Ritter for The Glory of Their Times , and includes a short, handwritten note from Ritter along the bottom. In full: "I was pleased to receive your letter, also the sweater, for which I thank you very much. I have autographed the picture, I was glad to do it for you. I am glad you had a safe trip home. I enjoyed our visit also, I am glad you saw Sam Crawford, he always was a swell fellow. With best wishes to you for the best of health always. I am sincerely yours, Jimmy Austin." Both the text and signature are penned in blue ink and grade "10." A few years later Ritter obviously made a gift of this letter to a friend, as noted by his handwritten remarks (in red marker, grading "10") at the base that read "3-31-69/For Paul, with best/wishes/Larry." Jimmy Austin is best known today for being featured in one of the most famous sports photographs ever taken. It was Austin who was on the receiving end of Ty Cobb's determined slide into third base that was captured by legendary baseball photographer Charles Conlon in 1909. Austin played eighteen seasons in the Major Leagues (1909-1929, not consecutively). He passed away on March 6, 1965, less than one year after the date of this letter. The letter (6 x 9 inches) displays three horizontal mailing folds. Ex-Mt. 3) Sam Crawford. One-page letter, dated April 23, 1965, written to a friend (Fred) two weeks after the start of the Major League season. Crawford first offers thanks for both an Easter and birthday card that were sent to him and then relates his recent activity. In part: "Am up here around the Feather River where they use to do a lot of mining for gold. Don't think there is much activity along that line now. A big dam is being built here now. They say the highest & biggest earth filled dam in the world. Damming up the Feather & the water will go as far south as San Diego. All very interesting ... All good wishes, Sincerely, Wahoo Sam. As you say, it is playball again." Both the text and signature have been scripted in black felt-tip pen and grade "10." Crawford was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1957 and he passed away in 1968. The letter (8 x 10 inches) has one horizontal and two vertical mailing folds, as well as a few thin areas of adhesive residue on four of the borders from once having been taped into an album (does not adversely affect any of the text). Vg-Ex. 4) Rube Marquard . One-page letter, dated July 10, 1972, on Marquard's personal letterhead. Marquard writes to a friend regarding Harry Hooper's eighty-fifth birthday. In full: "Received your letter regarding my good friend Harry Hooper's 85th birthday. It will be with pleasure to write Harry a letter we have been good friends for many years, and I pitched against him in the 1912 World's Series while I was with the N.Y. Giants. I will see him Aug. 7th at Cooperstown but I won't say anything about his birthday. He is one of the great ball players of years ago and a swell fellow. Sincerely, Rube Marquard." Both the text and signature have been scripted in blue felt-tip pen and grade "10." Both Marquard and Hooper were elected to the Hall of Fame in 1971. Marquard was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1971 and passed away in 1980. The letter (6.5 x 10 inches) has three horizontal mailing folds. Ex-Mt. Total: four letters. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $300. Estimate $500/$1,000. SOLD FOR $588
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