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1889 George Stallings Handwritten Letter to Harry Wright
Starting Bid - $200, Sold For - $2,938
Four-page handwritten letter (penned on the front and back of two separate sheets), dated February 10, 1889, signed by George Stallings (d. 1929), famed manager of the 1914 "Miracle Braves." In his letter, written on "Jacksonville Base-Ball and Athletic Association" stationery, Stallings enthusiastically responds to Wright, manager of the Philadelphia Quakers of the National League, regarding the feasibility of Jacksonville, Florida, becoming Philadelphia's spring training headquarters. In part: Mr. Harry Wright - Philadelphia, PA - Dear Sir: Your letter received and in reply will say we can let you have full control of the grounds to practice your men and as we are getting a first class team together here we can arrange at least two games a week with you that will pay extremely well and divide the receipts equally. Your expenses will be less than they were in Savannah in 87 and the climate and accommodations are at most incomparable...This county has never saw much of the League clubs accept [sic] the New York and Washingtons last spring and they only gave the people a taste of the thing and now they are perfectly wild to see more. They played under serious disadvantages here last year. Everybody was compelled to stand up as the grand stand at the park was not finished there. In fact all in the world they had was an inclosure [sic] with a diamond laid off and under all the disadvantages the Washingtons carried away a good sum...Now everything is different. We have as nice grounds as one could wish and our grand stand is finished up nicely and will accommodate 1200 people comfortably. We have every accommodation for conveying the people to the park. The F. R. + N. R. R. runs special trains on the days of games...This is you know the largest city in the state and all our hotels are filled with northern visitors besides it is the most enthusiastic Base Ball town in the south - so you can imagine what sort of crowds we can draw with you here. I am positive you can make over your expenses on the trip besides have the advantage of the best park in the south - to say nothing of the climate...We are expecting the New Yorks through here in March and several other northern clubs. You can arrange games with them. Our town will in no way bother you in the use of the grounds to get your men in condition. Hoping to hear from you as soon as possible - I am yours truly - Geo. T. Stallings. Both the text and Stallings signature have been scripted in black fountain pen and grade "9" overall. Stallings and Wright were well acquainted at the time of this letter, for it was Wright who signed Stallings to his first professional contract in 1887. Unfortunately, Stallings failed to make Philadelphia's roster that year and he did not make his Major League debut until the following year with Brooklyn. Stallings' entire Major League career consisted of just seven games in three seasons (1890, 1897, and 1898), but he later distinguished himself as manager of the 1914 "Miracle" Boston Braves. Harry Wright, the recipient of this letter, is one of the most significant baseball figures of the nineteenth century. In 1869 he founded and managed the Cincinnati Red Stockings, baseball's first all-professional club, and later won numerous championships in both the National Association and National League. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1953. Each page of the letter has been mounted, along the top border, to opposite sides of a cardboard backing. Each page has then been detached from the backing as a result of a complete horizontal tear, leaving a narrow strip from the top of each page affixed to the backing (the tear affects the letterhead on both pages). The pages also display numerous border tears, but nearly all of the text (with the exception of a line on the second page and two lines on the last page) remains legible and intact. Fair condition overall. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $200. Estimate $400+. SOLD FOR $2,938
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