Baseball Autographs - Greatest Thrill Letters, Indians Team Sheet
Lot 202. Ferguson Jenkins Fabulous Typed Signed Letter Discussing His Greatest Baseball Thrill. In this thoughtful letter, Jenkins offers with humility his perspective on his career and his impending induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. He signed the letter “Ferguson Jenkins,” rather than “Fergie,” and the signature is a beautiful mint 9 to gem mint 10. Jenkins was the first Chicago Cubs pitcher and Canadian to win the Cy Young Award (1971), and no other Canadian preceded him into the Hall of Fame. He was a three-time All-Star who led the N.L. in wins in 1971, and the A.L. in 1974. In seven seasons, including six consecutive, he won at least 20 games. He led the N.L. in strikeouts in 1969 and in complete games three times. Also of interest, from 1967-69, he played basketball in the off-season for the Harlem Globetrotters. From Jenkins, here is a special collectible created by one of baseball’s best.
Winning Bid $102
Lot 203. 5 Signed Baseball “Greatest Thrill” Letters – from Blyleven, Kiner, Lopez, Rizzuto, Slaughter. These five Hall of Fame stars handwrote their letters in response to request letters from baseball promotor and author Bill Hongach, who was a batboy for the New York Yankees in 1972 and 1973. Letters by Ralph Kiner, Phil Rizzuto and Enos Slaughter appear to have been written circa 1973. While somewhat brief, all contain excellent content. Kiner, for example, discusses his 1950 All-Star game home run in some detail. Home runs or All-Star games have a role in the greatest thrills described by Bert Blyleven, Al Lopez and Slaughter. Rizzuto’s love of the game is evident in his letter. Each player signed his letter. The autographs are mint 9. Lopez’s mailing envelope is included; on the reverse, he wrote his last name and address. Blyleven is the only living member of this Hall of Fame group.
Winning Bid $273
Lot 204. Rare 1939 Cleveland Indians Team Sheet Signed by 19 – Feller, Boudreau, Harder, Etc. In 1939, baseball marked its 100th anniversary, and this autographed 8.5” x 11” page has at the top the baseball centennial stamp from the U.S. Postal Service. All of these signatures were written in black fountain pen. Almost all are mint 9 or gem mint 10, with a few nm-m 8: Johnny Allen (died 1959), Johnny Bassler, Lou Boudreau, Bruce Campbell, Ben Chapman, Joe Dobson, Bob Feller, Oscar Grimes, Mel Harder, Jeff Heath, Rollie Hemsley, Willis Hudlin, Ray Mack (d. 1969), Oscar (“Ski”) Melillo (d. 1963), Al Milnar, Luke Sewell, Floyd Stromme, Lefty Weisman (trainer) and Oscar Vitt (d. 1963). Boudreau, who appeared in 53 games in 1939, and Feller, who won 24, had Hall of Fame careers. Mel Harder’s pitching failed to create HoF numbers, but it earned him the respect of some of the game’s best hitters, including Joe DiMaggio and Hank Greenberg. Luke Sewell was outstanding as a catcher defensively, and then after he retired, he became the manager who guided the St. Louis Browns to their only World Series appearance. Rollie Hemsley was a five-time All-Star catcher. Johnny Bassler was a former catcher who, as and Indians coach, is credited with helping to make Bob Feller a Hall of Fame pitcher. (Max) Lefty Weisman was the team’s trainer from 1921 until his passing in 1949. Tris Speaker looked upon him as a son, and on his 25th anniversary with the Indians, owner Bill Veeck honored him with Lefty Weisman Day and $5,000 in silver dollars. Weisman and Indians players subsequently appeared in the 1949 movie “The Kid from Cleveland.” A number of autographs on this sheet are difficult to find.
Winning Bid $204