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Lot # 1334 (1334 of 1911)   « Previous Lot | Next Lot »

1917 Charles Ebbets Handwritten Letter to Tillinghast Huston of the New York Yankees Regarding Sunday Baseball

Starting Bid - $200, Sold For - $2,280

Two-page handwritten letter, dated January 31, 1917, signed by Charles Ebbets (1859-1925), owner of the Brooklyn Robins. In his letter, on Majestic Hotel and Bath House letterhead (Hot Springs, Arkansas), Ebbets writes to Tillinghast L 'Hommedieu Huston, part owner and treasurer of the New York Yankees, regarding an "invitation" game to be played on a Sunday, in the hopes that it would encourage local officials to allow Sunday baseball games. (Sunday baseball was illegal in most states at the time, including New York, as per the existing blue laws.) In part:

Capt. T. Huston/Treas. New York AL BB Club. . . . My dear Cap - What do you think about playing a game on Sunday April 8th along same lines we played October 1st 1916? We could announce we were going to play an invitation game and that invitation would only be issued to those who purchased tickets on Saturday April 7th, this would help our gate on Saturday and be of material assistance in obtaining Sunday baseball. Please advise me your opinion. Enclosed find sample invitation. Presume American League will hold schedule meeting in New York; if so will see you at that time. . . . Sincerely yours, C. H. Ebbets.

Both the text and signature have been scripted in black fountain pen and grade "9." This letter was written by Ebbets while he was with his club in Hot Springs, Arkansas, for spring training. Obviously, Ebbets and Huston were circumventing the ban on Sunday baseball by inviting fans to the game instead of charging admission. New York officials ultimately relented on the issue of Sunday baseball, legalizing the practice in 1919. Although Ebbets presided over two Brooklyn pennant-winning clubs (1916 and 1920) and was an extremely influential owner (he is credited with inventing the concept of the "raincheck"), his greatest lasting fame was in the building of the stadium in 1912 that bore his name: Ebbets Field, which was home to the Brooklyn Dodgers for forty-six seasons. Each page of the letter (6 x 9.5 inches) displays two horizontal folds and a paperclip impression in the upper left corner. In Excellent to Mint condition overall. Auction LOA from James Spence/JSA.

Reserve $200. Estimate $500+. SOLD FOR $2,280


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