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1914 New York Giants and Chicago White Sox World Tour Travel Journal with 28 Autographs
Starting Bid - $2,000.00, Sold For - $5,332.50
While not as well known today as Spalding's legendary 1888/1889 World Tour, which has been extensively documented in several important baseball history books, the global navigation made by the New York Giants and Chicago White Sox in 1913/1914 was, by all accounts, equal to its predecessor in every way and much celebrated at the time. Offered here is an extraordinary, and perhaps the most unique, surviving relic from that historic sojourn: a handwritten travel journal chronicling the earliest leg of the tour as the teams made their way across the country by train before departing from Victoria, British Columbia, for Tokyo on the R.M.S. Empress of Japan. Its historical significance aside, the journal also features individual team sheets signed by members of each club, including six Hall of Famers, plus Jim Thorpe, Buck Weaver, and Germany Schaefer. While not explicitly stated, the journal was kept by the wife of Giants pitcher George "Hooks" Wiltse. The fact that she constantly refers to her husband by the name of "Geo." throughout the entries, including a notation reading "Geo. pitched & won in afternoon game," removes any doubt, as Wiltse was the only pitcher named George on the tour. The journal entries begin on October 31, 1913, from Syracuse, New York (Wiltse was buried in Syracuse in 1959) as Mrs. Wiltse boards a train to Chicago and then Texas to meet up with her husband in El Paso on November 5th. The tour actually began on October 18th in Cincinnati and saw the tourists play thirty games in thirty days, including games in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, California, and Oregon. Most of the journal entries deal with Mrs. Wiltse's social schedule during each stop, including dinners with the Mathewsons, McGraws, and other couples, but a few passages mention the playing of a game. The last entry in the journal is dated Sunday, November 30, which is when the tourists were aboard the Empress of Japan en route to Tokyo. The ship encountered a hurricane at sea on November 29th and many of the passengers feared for their lives as the waves nearly overturned the ship. Mrs. Wiltse's last entries deal with her increasing bouts of sea sickness, so it is not surprising that she stopped writing at that point. The hurricane, with its high winds and torrential rain probably also explains the significant amount of water damage to the covers and many of the first few pages. The highlights of this book, as mentioned earlier, are two individual album pages signed, respectively, by the members of each club. The Giants team sheet is signed by manager John McGraw, Mike Doolan, umpire Bill Klem, Hooks Wiltse, Mike Donlin, Hans Lobert, Bunny Hearn, Ivey Wingo, Urban Faber, Jim Thorpe (printed; however, JSA notes that they have seen a few other items signed by Thorpe from this period in which he also printed his name) Larry Doyle, Fred Merkle, and Lee Magee. The Chicago signers are Charles Comiskey, Steve Evans, manager Jimmie Callahan, Sam Crawford, Walter Leverenz, Andy Slight, Tommy Daly, Jack Bliss, Buck Weaver, James Scott, Joe Benz, Dick Egan, Tris Speaker, and Germany Schaefer (signed "Prince Henry Schaefer"). All of the signatures are beautifully executed in black fountain pen, and all grade either "9" or "10." In addition to the player signatures on the two sheets, there is another exceptional McGraw signature (penned in blue fountain pen; grading "10") on one of the pages signed by the wives and other passengers on board. It should be noted that the signatures of both Schaefer and Donlin are rare, as Schaefer passed away in 1919 and Donlin in 1933. Also, vintage Jim Thorpe signatures dating from his brief Major League career have always been highly prized by collectors. Twenty-eight pages of the journal display entries. The journal (4 x 6.5 inches) is heavily worn, including extensive water damage to the covers and the first few interior pages. Many of the pages have detached from the spine. Luckily, the two signature pages are free of any significant defects and remain in Excellent condition. Accompanying the journal is the definitive reference work regarding the 1913/1914 world tour by James Elfers, titled The Tour to End All Tours (University of Nebraska Press, 2003). In reading the book it is interesting to note how accurate the journal is with regard to dates and specific events. Very few souvenirs related to the 1913/1914 world tour have survived. This journal is one of them and represents one of the most interesting and unique firsthand accounts we have from the tour. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $2,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $5,332.50
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