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1900 John McGraw ALS in Framed Display
Starting Bid - $500.00 , Sold For - $2,643.75
One-page handwritten letter, dated June 22, 1900, from John McGraw to "W. L. Straus, Esq., of Baltimore, Md." McGraw was a member of the St. Louis Cardinals in 1900, and this letter, penned on "The Southern" hotel stationery (his place of residence that summer), finds him less than enthusiastic about his one year stay in St. Louis and about his finances. He writes in full: Dear Sir: Will you kindly advise me what time in July my note is due also what Bank. Have been very unlucky since coming out here have been laid up most of the time with a sprained ankle. Hoping you are well I remain very truly yours - John J. McGraw. Two notations appear at the bottom of the letter: the first was penned by W. L. Straus and reads "Answd 6/28/1900 WS." The second is the date "6/17-1900" (meaning unknown), written in blue pencil. McGraw, along with his longtime teammate and good friend Wilbert Robinson, were both sold to St. Louis in 1900 after the Baltimore Orioles were disbanded (due to the the National League having been reduced to just eight teams). Because both players owned a profitable saloon together in Baltimore, they were reluctant to join the St. Louis club and did so only after the club agreed to remove the reserve clause from their respective contracts (an unheard of concession at the time). Though not happy with his circumstances, McGraw certainly didn't let it affect his play. Despite missing forty-three games due to his cited ankle injury, McGraw batted .344 and led the league with a .505 on-base percentage. Not surprisingly, however, both he and Robinson jumped the club the following year and returned to the city of Baltimore, joining the newly formed American League franchise Baltimore Orioles. John McGraw letters are extremely rare, especially those dating from his playing days. This is an extraordinary example. The signature and all writing is bold and flawless, grading a solid a "10," and the letter (9-3/8 x 6 inches) is in Excellent to Mint condition with original fold lines from mailing. The letter has been matted and framed together with a vintage news photo (4 x 6.75 inches) picturing John McGraw on the field, circa 1900. The photo bears a Culver Pictures, Inc., stamp on the reverse and is in apparent Excellent condition. A color copy of the photo's reverse accompanies the piece for display purposes. Total dimensions: 13 x 23.75 inches. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000/$1,500. SOLD FOR $2,643.75
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