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1885 A.J. Reach Autograph Letter to N.E. Young Regarding Lucas and Union Association
Starting Bid - $500.00, Sold For - $2,088.00
Two-page handwritten letter by Philadelphia Nationals owner A. J. Reach to National League secretary N. E. Young, with very significant baseball content regarding the National League's relationship with Henry Lucas of the Union Association, and the serious issues relating to Union Association player contracts in the wake of the League's demise. Many National League players had earlier violated their reserve clauses by jumping to the Union Association, and now that the Union Association was no more, the fate of these players had to be addressed with great care and thought. Written on striking A. J. Reach Company letterhead and dated March 26, 1885, the letter is beautifully signed by "A. J. Reach" ("9") in black fountain pen. Reach was at this time owner of the Philadelphia Nationals. This letter, written to Nicholas Young at the office of the National League, reads as follows: "Dear Nick, I hardly know [what] to write regarding St. Louis personally I think the penalty very severe for the reserve jumpers (as really they have committed no offense). At same time it will place the League in an awkward position to recede from the stand already taken. After the pledge given by Mr. Lucas to accept membership under the rules of the League. And now wanting to resign without trying his team. Don't think he is the Man the League wants or should have in their council. So under the circumstances would prefer to admit the reserve jumpers. On condition that Mr. Lucas be not recognized or ever allowed to attend a League meeting for violation of contract or pledge made to the League. In 1884 he caused the players to Jump. In 1885 he gets into the League a few weeks later - he wants to or threatens to Jump. What will he want to do in 1886 for the writers part don't see where the League has use for that kind of man. Very Truly Yours, A.J. Reach - am uncertain as to when I can come down but would like to do so. regards to Mrs. Young." Henry V. Lucas, a wealthy St. Louis entrepreneur, was the driving force behind the Union Association, which folded following the 1884 season, after just one season. After all the problems he caused the National League in 1884, in 1885 Lucas bought the National League's failing Cleveland franchise and relocated the team to St. Louis. Reach was understandably leery about Lucas. Lucas was very unpopular with all the National League owners, both before and after he was a National League team owner himself, and apparently with good reason. This is an extraordinary correspondence between two of the primary architects of the National League, relating to the behind-the-scenes workings and politics of the League, during the most tumultuous days of the mid-1880s. All writing and the A. J. Reach signature are virtually perfect ("9/10"). The pages (5.5 x 9 inches) have normal mailing fold lines, and are in Excellent condition. This letter originates from a significant find of National League correspondence saved by N. E. Young, which was sold by the Young family many years ago. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000/$2,000. SOLD FOR $2,088.00
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