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Willie Wells Autograph Letter
Starting Bid - $200.00, Sold For - $812.00
Two-page autograph letter (front and back of a single sheet), dated December 20, 1974, by Hall of Fame Negro League shortstop Willie Wells. In his letter, written during his tenure as manager of the Austin Indians Baseball Club and penned on official club stationery, Wells writes to one of the deans of Negro League baseball history, John Holway. Wells writes in full: "Dear Mr. Holway - I want to thank you for everything that you have done for me. I am always glad to hear from you. I'll never forget our meeting in New York and we have been in touch ever since. My mother passed this year June 22 so I'll stay here in Texas but I miss New York. I have a good team, have four kids got a chance to make it. I also have a chance to coach Huston Tillotson College here in Austin. The weather is great here and I like it very much. I don't know if you will get this in time but I wish you and family a Merry Christmas + Happy New Year. Mine in Sport, Willie Wells." On the reverse Wells has penned the postscript "PS Thanks for letting me know what is going on." Both the text and signature have been scripted in blue ink and grade "10". Willie Wells is generally considered to be one of the four greatest shortstops in Negro League history. An exceptional hitter as well as a defensive standout, Wells is credited with a career average of .334, and his 27 home runs (in only 88 games) in 1927 stands as the single season Negro League home-run record. Wells also compiled a .392 average in exhibition games against white major leaguers. After retiring from baseball, Wells lived in New York City for many years before returning to Austin, Texas, to take care of his ailing mother. He passed away in 1989 and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997. The letter (8.5 x 11 inches) has normal mailing folds as well as a light crease and small tear in the upper right corner. Excellent condition overall. LOAs from James Spence/JSA and Steve Grad, Mike Gutierrez & Zach Rullo/PSA DNA. Reserve $200. Estimate $400/$600. SOLD FOR $812.00
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