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1917 Timothy Murnane Memorial Album Signed by Ban Johnson, Connie Mack, Charles Comiskey, and Others
Starting Bid - $1,000.00, Sold For - $7,637.50
Leather-bound memorial book of unparalleled quality presented as a keepsake to the family of Timothy Murnane on September 27, 1917 at Boston’s Fenway Park. Timothy Munrane Day featured an All-Star team comprised of the greatest stars of the American League (including Joe Jackson, Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Tris Speaker, etc.) playing against the Boston Red Sox, for the purpose of celebrating Murnane's great contributions to the game and to raise money for his family. The Murnane Day game was the second of the two most important charity events of the decade, with the first having been the fundraiser for Addie Joss' family following his untimely passing in 1911. This book was presented to Mrs. Murnane on that special day. In addition to being produced by the finest craftsmen, the book is signed by American League president Ban Johnson and all eight American League team owners. Tim Murnane was a former player and manager during the nineteenth century who in Boston later became one of the most respected sportswriters in the nation. His sudden death in February 1917 caused great sorrow for both his loyal readers and many friends in the game. In honor of his memory and contributions to the game, the American League felt compelled to produce and present his family with this testimonial book celebrating his achievements on its nine thick gilt-edged interior pages. This book has the aura and the quality of a sacred religious artifact. The hard-bound leather cover reads "In Memorium" in gold lettering and is accented by a black silk decorative ribbon. The interior of the covers are lined with white silk surrounded by a decorative gold design on the interior leather trim. The pages are all hand lettered, in grand calligraphic style, and are sturdy, thick, special card-stock presentation pages. This book was obviously intended to be a most sincere and dignified expression of gratitude which could be appreciated by Mrs. Murnane at a glance. The text, spread out over the entire nine pages of the book, reads as follows: Timothy Hayes Murnane was gathered to his fathers on February 7, 1917, after about 45 years of active service to baseball, first as a player of prominence and then as an able organizer, a wise executive and an authoritative writer. The American League of professional baseball clubs expresses its deep sense of the loss the national game has sustained by his death, recognizing that in his devotion to baseball, which he put above all interests of clubs or players, he best served the welfare and ideals of the League. As a member of the Board of Arbitration of the National Association he was a wise and just mediator, maintaining a position of balance between club owners and players unrivaled by anyone ever connected with baseball. As a writer he was original, independent and fearless. While he was broad and kindly in his writings and an apostle of optimism, he was relentless in his criticism of whatever he felt was inimical to the good of baseball. He hated all sham and was quick to detect and expose whatever did not ring true. The integrity of the game was a passion with him, and he was a powerful influence in making baseball what it is today, preeminent among all sports as above suspicion. His great personal charm and genial presence endeared him to the individual members of the American League to whom he was a valued friend and a trusted counselor." The final page reads: “Resolved that an engrossed and bound copy of this memorial be presented to Mr. Murnane’s family as a token of our deep sympathy for them and our great indebtedness to him as a master builder of the national game . It is signed directly below by Ban Johnson (league president), Harry Frazee (Boston), Jacob Ruppert (New York), Charles Comiskey (Chicago), Connie Mack (Philadelphia), Frank Navin (Detroit), James Dunn (Cleveland), Philip Ball (St. Louis) and Benjamin Minor (Washington). All of the signatures have been penned in black fountain pen and are flawless, grading “9-10.” The black leather cover of the book (8.5 x 10 inches) shows some wear from handling. The interior pages are all crisp, clean and bright, having been perfectly protected between the covers of this special memorial presentation. Excellent condition. Produced by the American League for presentation to Mrs. Murnane on Timothy Murnane Day, this is perhaps the greatest keepsake that could possibly exist from this legendary event. Included with the album is a circa 1905 cabinet card with oval image of Murnane (5.75 x 8.75 inches, Vg-Ex, signed in pencil on reverse "To my friend Charlie Lavis Compliments of T. H. Murnane") and a card (4.5 x 3.5 inches, Ex-Mt) sent by Mrs. Murnane expressing thanks for the sympathy and kind words of well wishers. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $1,000. Estimate $3,000+. SOLD FOR $7,637.50
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