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1906 Ban Johnson TLS To Red Sox Owner Regarding Jimmy Collins
Starting Bid - $200.00, Sold For - $705.00
Two significant letters, each dated February 3, 1906, written by American League President Ban Johnson concerning the disharmonious relationship between Boston Red Sox owner Charles Taylor and team manager Jimmy Collins. One of the letters, to Taylor, has been signed by Johnson, while the other, a related two-page letter to Collins, is in the form of an office file copy. The first, a one-page typewritten letter on Official American League letterhead, is addressed to “General Chas. H. Taylor” and finds Johnson attempting to bridge the gap between Taylor and Collins with regard to their lack of communication. Johnson writes in part: “…I wired Manager Collins that he must postpone his departure for Hot Springs until such time as I could have a further talk with him in regard to matters pertaining to the Boston Club…I wrote Mr. Collins, and enclose you a copy of the letter…I will arrange to have Mr. Collins join me at Buffalo. We will go direct to Boston, and will call at your office in the Globe Building…The Manager of your Boston Club is a bashful chap, and it is highly probable he did not want to force his presence upon you. I appreciate thoroughly the situation, and will have a good talk with Mr. Collins, when he joins me at Buffalo…” The letter is signed “BB Johnson” in black fountain pen (grading “10”). The “enclosed letter” mentioned in Johnson’s missive to Taylor is included here in the form of an unsigned, office copy. The two-page letter, also typewritten on Official American League letterhead, is addressed to “Mr. James Collins” and reads in part: “…I received a letter this week from General Taylor. He was much disappointed that he did not see you again before your departure from Boston. Under the new order of things, the General is the head and front of our Boston Club. Your scope of authority was largely increased, and your identification with the Boston Club is in many ways similar to the place Connie Mack occupies at Philadelphia. To me it would seem to be a part of your duty to be in close touch at all times with General Taylor, and you should embrace every opportunity to confer with him on matters pertaining to the Boston Club. The best results can only be secured where the officials of a club work in full accord. General Taylor is a man of such large experience and wisdom, that he would not seek to dictate at any time the policy of the Club, where it relates to the playing end. The Boston Club, as you must know, is entirely his investment, and where a man’s financial interests are at stake, he likes to be consulted on all matters pertaining to his property rights…” Both letters also deal with matters relating to two potential player acquisitions: Snags Heidrick, who was the property of St. Louis at the time, and a minor league pitcher named Clay. These letters are interesting in that they show the personal interest Johnson was taking with regard to the internal matters of ball clubs within his fledgling league. It is also important to note the comparison made between Collins and Mack at the time. Collins, who was widely considered to be the greatest fielding third baseman of his era, was also extremely popular with Boston fans, having led the club to victory in the first ever World Series in 1903. Unfortunately, that popularity would not be enough to save his job. Apparently, the communication problems between Taylor and Collins (touched upon in these letters) did not improve, and that fact, combined with the club’s dismal showing in 1906, resulted in Collins’ dismissal late in the season. The following season he was traded to Philadelphia, where he eventually closed out his career in 1908. Each of the letters measures 8.5 x 11 inches and displays both horizontal and vertical mailing folds. The signed letter exhibits two tiny tears along the intersections of the fold lines and is in Very Good to Excellent condition overall. The copy letter, typed upon onionskin paper, displays numerous folds and creases, as well as minor border tears, and is in Good to Very Good condition. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $200. Estimate $400/$600. SOLD FOR $705.00
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