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1949 Chief Bender Handwritten Letter with Original Envelope
Starting Bid - $300, Sold For - $1,304
One-page handwritten letter, dated March 24, 1949, signed by Hall of Fame pitcher Chief Bender (1884-1954). In his letter, written on Hotel Colquitt (Moultrie, Georgia) stationery, Bender responds to a young fan. In full: "My Dear Hooper, In answer to your card of a late date I can only say for sure that I am credited with over two hundred games won in the American and National Leagues. Sincerely yours, 'Chief' Bender - 'Athletics' scout." Both the text and signature have been scripted in blue fountain pen and grade "9/10." It should be noted the the "Hooper" to whom this letter is addressed, is our consignor's husband, a lifelong autograph collector, who, starting in his teens, began the practice of writing players to ask for their autographs. The letter has remained in the family's sole possession since the day it was received! Ideally, it is accompanied by its original "Hotel Colquitt" mailing envelope. One of the finest pitchers of his era, Bender won 212 games, against only 127 losses in this sixteen-year career. Perhaps the greatest testament to his pitching ability was that offered by A's manager Connie Mack, who chose Bender, over eventual 300 game-winner Eddie Plank, as his Game 1 starter in each of the club's four World Series appearances between the years 1910 and 1914. Bender was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1953, just one year prior to his passing. For that reason, his signature remains very scarce today. The letter (6 x 9.5 inches) has two horizontal mailing folds and remains in Near Mint condition. The envelope (6.25 x 3.5 inches) is similarly well preserved and is in Excellent condition overall, with a tiny tear along the base. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $300. Estimate $1,000+. SOLD FOR $1,304
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