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Lot # 1285 (1285 of 1911)   « Previous Lot | Next Lot »

Al Simmons Signed Letter - Accepting an Invitation to Yankees’ Old Timers’ Day in 1955

Starting Bid - $300, Sold For - $840

One-page typed letter, dated May 20, 1955, on Journal American letterhead, signed by Hall of Fame outfielder Al Simmons. In his letter, written to Yankees vice president and director of publicity Bob Fishel, Simmons offers his thanks on being invited to the Yankees' Old Timers' Day. In full:

Dear Bob: Thank-you very much for your kind invitation to attend the Old Timers Day and Hall of Fame day at Yankee Stadium, Saturday, July 30. I shall be very happy to attend. With best wishes, I am, Sincerely yours, Al Simmons [signed], Director – J-A Sandlot Baseball.

Simmons has scripted his name in blue ink, with the signature grading "9." As noted here, Simmons was the director of sandlot baseball for the Journal American newspaper in 1955, which was a job he inherited from another Hall of Famer, Rabbit Maranville, who died in 1954. Apparently, that job was hazardous to one's health, as Simmons passed away almost exactly one year later, on May 25, 1956, at the age of fifty-four. As such, the Yankees' Old Timers' game he attended that year was the last time fans would see old "bucketfoot Al" on a major league diamond. The 1955 Yankees Old Timers’ Day event was an extra festive affair that year because the ceremonies also honored two former Yankees who were to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame that summer: Joe DiMaggio and Frank "Home Run" Baker. Simmons was one of the greatest hitters of his era and finished his career with 307 home runs, 1,827 RBI (which was sixth all-time at the time of his retirement in 1944; currently 19th), and a .334 lifetime average. He was also a favorite of A's manager Connie Mack. It has long been told that Mack kept only one picture of a ballplayer in his office, and that player was Al Simmons. The letter (8.5 x 11 inches) displays two horizontal mailing folds, very light toning, and a tiny edge tear along the lower right border. In Excellent condition overall. Auction LOA from James Spence/JSA.

Reserve $300. Estimate $500+. SOLD FOR $840

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