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Lot # 1355 (1355 of 1911)   « Previous Lot | Next Lot »

Significant 1951 Harry Heilmann Signed Letter to Ty Cobb Regarding Heilmann's Chances for Hall of Fame Induction!

Starting Bid - $300, Sold For - $4,200

Two-page typed letter (on two separate sheets), dated February 18, 1951, signed by Hall of Fame outfielder Harry Heilmann. In his letter, composed on his personal letterhead, Heilmann writes to former teammate Ty Cobb and thanks him for his efforts in trying to get Heilmann elected to the Hall of Fame. In part: "Dear Tyrus: I was very honored by the receipt of your letter, expressing such interest, in my making the Hall of Fame. Coming from you it carries some real weight. . . . It would be a pleasure to work with you, in any way, inasmuch as you seem of the opinion, that I would not lessen the overall average of those already elected." Heilmann goes on to list the baseball writers who, he believes will support him for induction, and one, John Carmichael, who would probably not due to a past fist fight between the two. Heilmann also tells Cobb that he can probably count on the support of many of the team owners. The letter is flawlessly signed "Harry Heilmann" in blue ink, with the signature grading "10." It seem almost hard to believe in this day and age that a player who led the league in batting four times, including one season in which he hit over .400, and finished his seventeen-year career with a .342 average, would have trouble making the Hall of Fame, or that he himself would doubt his worthiness, but that was exactly the situation Heilmann found himself in at the time. Heilmann retired in 1932 and, incredibly, during his first nine years of eligibility (1937-1945) he never garnered more than fourteen votes! Sadly, the main reason Cobb was taking an active interest in Heilmann's election in 1951 was because Heilmann was suffering from cancer and did not have much longer to live. Unfortunately, even with Cobb's help, Heilmann fell seventeen votes short in 1951. Heilmann died just five months after writing this letter. Perhaps Heilmann's death softened the hearts of some of the Hall of Fame voters, because the following year he was easily elected to the Hall, receiving the highest number of votes (203) of any candidate. The letter (7.25 x 11 inches) displays two horizontal folds and is in Excellent to Mint condition. Auction LOA from James Spence/JSA.
Reserve $300. Estimate $1,000+. SOLD FOR $4,200

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