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Lot # 1284 (of 1807)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

Circa 1923 New York Yankees Document Archive Recording the Dissolution of the Ownership Partnership Ruppert and Huston

Starting Bid - $500.00, Sold For - $4,147.50

For the complete description of this lot please go to: http://blog.robertedwardauctions.com/?p=680&preview=true The following is an edited (shortened) version: Offered here is both a fascinating and historically significant archive of papers, letters, telegrams, and other miscellaneous material documenting the sale of Colonel Tillinghast L'Hommedieu Huston's ownership shares of the New York Yankees to Colonel Jacob Ruppert in 1923. There are approximately seventy documents in this archive (with each multipage document or letter counted as a single document), the majority of which date between the years 1921 and 1923, which was the year in which Ruppert gained sole ownership of the Yankees. In addition to the material regarding the sale of Huston's stake in the club, there are also documents pertaining to the cost analysis of building Yankee Stadium, a thoroughly entertaining private detective's report detailing Babe Ruth's debauchery at an all-night party with a number of chorus girls, and an extremely interesting letter from Huston to Ruppert which sheds new light on New York Giants manager John McGraw's motivation for helping Ruppert and McGraw purchase the Yankees in 1915. This entire collection was only just recently discovered by our consignor in the attic of his late mother's home in Norcross, Georgia. While he has no knowledge of how or when his mother obtained these documents (he had never even heard of their existence until he uncovered them in an old metal file box), the fact that they were found in Georgia is not surprising. After selling the Yankees, Huston retired to a plantation in Darien, Georgia, where he lived until his death in 1938. Obviously, unbeknownst to our consignor, his parents or grandparents must have had some connection to the Huston family.

The majority of the documents in this collection relate directly to the sale of Huston's shares in the club in 1923. There are many documents detailing the Yankees finances at the time, so as to arrive at a fair market price for the club, as well as correspondence between Huston and his lawyers and accountants. Included among the highlights are the following: 1) Three-page "Stockholder's Consent" agreement, dated May 31, 1923, in which Ruppert agrees to purchase Huston's shares of stock in the New York Yankees. The Ruppert signature on this document is secretarial. 2) Two letters from Ruppert to Huston, dated 2/6/23 and 10/31/23, respectively, each signed by Ruppert in black fountain pen (grading "9" and "6," respectively). Both letters concern financial details of the transaction. 3) A copy of Huston's one-page resignation letter as "Vice-President, as Secretary, and as member of the Executive Committee of the American League Baseball Club of New York." Dated 5/31/23. Not signed. 4) A series of four handwritten letters from Huston to Ruppert, all of which are extremely acrimonious, and epitomize how wide the rift between the two had become. All are written in pencil on onion-skin and were meant for typewritten transcription by his secretary. None are signed. One is dated 5/8/23, while all the remainder are undated. Two of the letters are two pages, one is three pages, and the other is ten pages. While we cannot print the letters in their entirety, a sample passage will convey their tone:I am especially bitterly dissatisfied over the way in which our business is being conducted at present. We went into this business as a partnership basis, but now you have arrogated to yourself so much authority and doing continually so many things without consulting me that is becoming a one man show and only a question of time when you will drive me into an open rebellion…5) One-page file copy of a letter, dated 2/12/18, from Huston to Ruppert, regarding a secret payment to John McGraw. This is an extremely important letter as it implies that McGraw had insisted on a financial reward for brokering the sale of the Yankees. Even more, it further implies that McGraw, while employed by the Giants, was in some way working as a consultant for the Yankees as well. In part: Dear Colonel: You will remember that when we bought the Yankees, McGraw entered into the deal and figured into the subsequent organization. McGraw felt all along that he was entitled to some compensation for his services…John was anxious that the matter be kept strictly confidential and intimated that the matter should be kept between he and I…On July 14th, 1918, I have agreed to pay John McGraw $5,000 for the aforementioned services… With kind regards, I am, Yours. P. S. Mr. McGraw wishes that the matter be kept absolutely graveyard and to go no further than you and I. 6) Four-page "Special Report" by "New York Investigator X-77" in which he details the nocturnal adventures of certain Yankee team members. The Yankees, obviously worried that their investment in Babe Ruth might be put in jeopardy by his drinking and lascivious off-the-field encounters, hired a private investigator to document his whereabouts at night. The report offered here by the private detective recounts the information he received from some chorus girls. In part: I then began asking questions about the party. They said everyone was drunk. Ruth acted as bartender, master of ceremonies and everything else: that he baptised [sic] himself more than anyone else. Upon asking if Meusel wasn't with the bunch as usual, they answered, that Ruth, Ward, and Haines were there; these names they remembered. The rest they did not remember, saying there were so many there they could not remember them all....The girls were also speaking of how funny Ruth looked wearing one of the girl's hats, who plays a violin as a special number in the show. Name of this girl I do not remember, nor did I meet her. Also, that Ruth was either lying under or on top of the table before the party was over. 7) Five-page handwritten letter from Huston to Ed Barrow. Similar to the letters to Ruppert, it is written in pencil on onion-skin for later transcription by a secretary. Huston, who begins by stating that the hiring of Barrow was his idea, then proceeds to castigate him by listing a number of actions which he finds underhanded. 8) 95-page bound book comprised of the complete financial records of the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1928 through 1933. After Huston sold his interest in the Yankees he later inquired about purchasing the Brooklyn Dodgers. This financial report was obviously sent to him so that he could accurately appraise the value of the club. 9) Various miscellaneous letter, documents, and telegrams, a number of which relate to Huston's life-insurance policy. It should be noted that nearly all of the documents (most of which are 8.5 x 11 inches) are in Fair to Good condition overall, with most displaying tears, foxing, toning, and in some cases what appears to be fire damage. Despite the flaws, the documents remain legible and shed new light one of the most pivotal chapters in New York Yankees history. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $500. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $4,147.50


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