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1940 Chief Bender Handwritten Letter
Starting Bid - $200, Sold For - $1,410
One-page handwritten letter, undated, signed by Hall of Fame pitcher Chief Bender (1884-1954). In this inspirational letter, written on Hotel Wilkirk (Sanford, North Carolina) stationery, Bender writes to an ill youngster who shares his passion for our national pastime. In full: "Dear Tommy, I understand from Mrs. Magargal that you are a dyed in the wool baseball fan as well as being greatly interested in other sports. It's fellows like you that keep our national pastimes alive that tend to produce the good old American spirit of sportsmanship and fair play. Under separate cover I am sending an autographed baseball that will be our official ball of the new Inter-state League this year. Connie Mack appointed me manager of the Wilmington, Delaware team, a farm club, to develop youngsters for the Athletics. With all my good wishes for a speedy recovery. Sincerely yours, 'Chief' Bender. PS. We break our training camp here next Monday the 22nd. C.A.B." The text, as well as both Bender's signature and initials, have been scripted in blue fountain pen and grade "8/9." Bender was only manager of Wilmington in 1940, thereby conclusively dating this letter to the spring of that year. One of the finest pitchers of his era, Bender won 212 games, against only 127 losses in this sixteen-year career. Perhaps the greatest testament to his pitching ability was that offered by A's manager Connie Mack, who chose Bender, over eventual 300 game-winner Eddie Plank, as his Game 1 starter in each of the club's four World Series appearances between the years 1910 and 1914. Bender was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1953, just one year prior to his passing. The letter (8.5 x 11 inches) displays one vertical and two horizontal mailing folds, as well as minor surface wrinkles and paper residue on the reverse from having once been mounted (the young recipient probably took great pride in receiving this letter and kept it in his scrapbook as a cherished memento). In Very Good to Excellent condition. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $200. Estimate $400/$600. SOLD FOR $1,410
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