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1914 James O'Rourke Autograph Letter
Starting Bid - $500.00, Sold For - $10,440.00
Extremely rare one-page autograph letter by nineteenth-century star and Hall of Famer James "Orator" O'Rourke, penned upon The Eastern Association of Base Ball Clubs letterhead, O'Rourke offers a colleague his opinion regarding the abilities of a local umpire. O'Rourke writes in full: "Tim, I can recommend a splendid umpire to you for 1915. One James Ennis of Pittsfield Mass., graduate of Holy Cross and umpire for Williams + Dartmouth Colleges the past several years. I have seen him work - and would put him on my staff at once - if he did not live in Pittsfield - where we have one of our clubs. You will like him. I am sure. Yours Truly, J H O'Rourke." Both the text and signature have been scripted in black ink, grading an essentially flawless "9." O'Rourke was president of the the Eastern Association at the time this letter was written. Although it is undated, the fact that O'Rourke mentions the year 1915 in the future tense, combined with the knowledge that the Eastern Association folded after the 1914 season, almost certainly dates the letter to exactly 1914. "Orator Jim," who played in the National Association, the National League and the Player's League over the course of his nineteen-year career, was one of the top hitters of his era. He finished his career with a .310 lifetime average and one batting title (1884 with Buffalo). Following his playing days, O'Rourke managed in the minors, umpired for one year in the Majors, and was president of the Connecticut League (which later became the Eastern Association). Although O'Rourke served in an official capacity for a number of years, his signature is extremely rare in any form. He passed away in 1919 and wasn't elected to the Hall of Fame until 1945. The letter (8.5 x 11 inches) displays normal mailing folds and is in Excellent condition. LOAs from James Spence/JSA and Steve Grad, Mike Gutierrez & Zach Rullo/PSA DNA. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000/$2,000. SOLD FOR $10,440.00
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