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1951 Dave Danforth Handwritten Sympathy Letter to Joe Jackson's Family
Starting Bid - $500, Sold For - $1,998
One-page handwritten letter, from former Major League pitcher Dave Danforth to the family of Joe Jackson, offering sympathy upon Jackson's passing in 1951. Danforth was a teammate of Jackson's with the Chicago White Sox from 1916 through 1919, and witnessed his fall from grace first hand. Even years later, Joe's banishment from baseball still weighed heavily on Danforth's mind and in this illuminating letter, he speaks highly of Joe's talent and character. He even goes so far to compare Joe favorably, both as a player and person, to Babe Ruth, whom he describes as "over paid and overly boosted" (in the newspaper headlines). In full: I just want to offer my sympathy in your loss, for Joe was a personal friend of mine and a team mate. He was a better player and man than Babe Ruth. Joe earned far more than he ever got out of baseball. Ruth was a New York player boosted in head lines even when he struck out. He was over paid and overly boosted. Joe was underpaid and critisized [sic] and punished beyond reason. Morally Joe was a fine man. I want to sympathise [sic] with you, for I have lost a friend and you a dear one. In Sympathy, Dr. Dave C. Danforth. Both the text and signature have been scripted in blue fountain pen and grade "10." Although the letter is undated, it is accompanied by the original mailing envelope, addressed entirely in Danforth's hand, which is postmarked December, 7, 1951. (Jackson passed away on December 5, 1951 at the age of sixty-two.) The envelope is addressed "To the family of - Shoeless Joe Jackson - Greenville - South Carolina," and bears Danforth's name and return address in the upper left corner. Despite the fact that this letter was not written to Jackson directly, it is exceptional with regard to content. The controversy regarding the full extent of Jackson's involvement in the 1919 "Black Sox" scandal is one that still rages. While Danforth does not specifically weigh in on the matter, his statement that "Morally Joe was a fine man" leaves little room for doubt regarding his position. When the Jackson family correspondence surfaced many years ago, comprised primarily of letters from fans, very few letters of significance were included. This was one of the few and one of the best. The letter (5.25 x 7 inches), written on one side of a fold-over sheet, displays a horizontal mailing fold and is in Excellent condition. The envelope (6.5 x 3.75 inches) is also well preserved and grades Ex. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000+. SOLD FOR $1,998
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