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Lot # 1277 (1277 of 1911)   « Previous Lot | Next Lot »

Late 1930s Harry Heilmann Signed Handwritten Letter - Possibly to His Paramour

Starting Bid - $300, Sold For - $360

Two-page handwritten letter, undated, signed by Hall of Fame outfielder Harry Heilmann. In his letter, scripted in blue fountain pen on Hotel Lucille Grim (Texarkana, Texas) stationery, Heilmann writes to a woman named Joan, and brings her up to date on his current activities. In full:

Dearest Joan:- I have delayed answering your lovely letter much too long. There is no excuse so I offer none. You will notice that I am En Route home for the Xmas season. There is no use to even start telling of the exciting incidents crammed into my life in the past seven weeks. And my dear Joan were some of them thrilling. My good friend Mrs. Frawley took especial care of your “wolf,” and we were so busily engaged that we forgot the business that took me there, and I am returning to Detroit rather empty-handed. It is, I am forced to confess, an excuse for going out soon again. It has been rumored around that the Radio business in Detroit is getting along, despite my absence. How disappointing that is to me, because I feared for its future when Vitez left, but then when Heilmann left I felt sure of its total collapse. But I am told still a few stations on the air, which proves what a robust business it is and its ability to absorb shocks. Haven’t heard a word from W.X.Y.Z nor (vice) visa versa. Think I’ll mail myself as a Xmas card collect. Dear Joan I hope you are started by now, or else get a show for that Xmas present. If I was a sponsor I’d take you in a second, even if I wasn’t one, I still take you - - wait .– for my friend. You may see me in N.Y. on a visit after the Holidays – This line seriously, Joan, is to wish you Gods Choicest Blessings for Xmas – and the sincere wish of a much better 1938 [backs up letter written in 1937] – Be happy and brave and all things are equal in the end. It still goes what mentioned when I last saw you. And now to sleep, so I can forget this town I am in. Love Harry H.

Heilmann has added the postscript "What the H— do you suppose this means" at the bottom of the page: (referring to the print along the base of the stationery that reads "The Center of a Four State Area"). The signature grades "10," while the text grades "9" overall due to some minor brushing. Although Heilmann signed his name "Harry H." his last name does appears in the body of the text. Heilmann worked as a radio announcer for Tiger games following his retirement in 1932, a job he held up until his death in 1951. Based upon references in this letter, it most likely dates to the late 1930s. (Heilmann broadcast on WXYZ from 1934 to 1942). It is not known what the relationship was between Heilmann and "Joan," but it is interesting that she left her red lipstick impression on the back of the first page, possibly indicating her romantic involvement with Heilmann (Heilmann's wife was named Mae). An excerpt of this letter is featured in the book Baseball's Golden Half-Century by Ken Willey (Glenleaf Publishing, 2007). Heilmann was one of the greatest hitters of his era and a four-time American League batting champion with the Tigers (every other year from 1921 to 1927). One of only a few modern-era players to hit over .400, he finished his career with .342 lifetime average and was elected to the Hall of Fame 1952, one year after his death. Each page of the letter (6 x 9.5 inches) displays two horizontal folds and there is a small area of light discoloration along base of the second page. In Excellent condition overall. Auction LOA from James Spence/JSA.
Reserve $300. Estimate $500+. SOLD FOR $360

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