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1974 Effa Manley Handwritten Letter
Starting Bid - $500, Sold For - $2,644
Exceptional two-page handwritten letter (on both sides of a single sheet) signed by Effa Manley, the only woman ever elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, with particularly outstanding baseball content. In her letter, dated 2/13/74 and scripted in blue ink on her personal stationery, she writes to former ballplayer Joe Garagiola, who, at the time, was enjoying his second career as a television baseball announcer with NBC. Manley, a former Negro League owner, is writing to Garagiola to thank him for featuring a number of former Negro League stars as guests on his pregame show, and also to offer her opinion on who she would have chosen to break baseball’s “color barrier. In full: “Dear Mr. Garagiola: I am the woman, along with my late husband Abe, who owned one of the Negro Baseball teams, the Newark Eagles. I am writing to say thanks to you for the nice things you are saying about our old baseball. When you had Cool Papa Bell and Satchell [sic] on, the list of great Negro players of the past was really wonderful. Now next week you have announced you are having Monte Irvin on your program. He was one of my boys – and the one (if the owners of the Negro teams had been asked) would have been picked to break the color barrier in the Majors. He was a perfect player – hit, field, throw, run and think. There are not many of them. The presence of the Negro players in the Majors has made the game more exciting. The base stealing has always been something the black players did constantly – which made our baseball more exciting. I will be anxiously waiting for next Monday game – and your pre game show. Again, thanks a lot. Sincerely, Effa Manley. Both the signature and text grade “9.” Manley entered the world of baseball in 1936 by virtue of her marriage to Abe Manley, owner of the Newark Eagles. Effa ran the team's business affairs and during the next ten years she became a strong advocate for both players' rights and civil rights. In addition to her baseball duties, Manley was also treasurer of the Newark chapter of the NAACP and often used the team to promote civic causes. In 1946, following the death of her husband, she assumed total control of the team. During the next two years she fought vigorously against the raiding of her players by Major League clubs (she lost top stars such as Larry Doby, Don Newcombe, and Monte Irvin). Unfortunately, it was a battle she could not win, and in 1948 she was finally forced to disband the club. Effa Manley letters are rare, especially those featuring outstanding baseball content. The letter (5.75 x 7.75 inches) displays a horizontal mailing fold line, two staple holes, and a very insignificant tiny tear at the top border (of no consequence, mentioned strictly for the sake of accuracy). In Excellent condition overall. Accompanied by the original Effa Manley personal stationery mailing envelope (6 x 4 inches, Ex), postmarked 8/13/74. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000+. SOLD FOR $2,644
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