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Lot # 961 (of 1807)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1956 Roderick Wallace Handwritten Letter - How He Received the Nickname "Bob"

Starting Bid - $500.00, Sold For - $1,185.00

Two-page handwritten letter, on both sides of an unlined index card, signed by Hall of Fame shortstop Roderick Wallace. Signed with exceedingly rare full-name signature ("Roderick John Wallace"), which we do not recall having ever seen before (and which relates directly to the content of the letter). In this letter, dated June 25, 1956, Wallace responds to a fan's request for an autographed photo and also sets the record straight on how he received the nickname "Bob." In full:

Dear Otto, So sorry you have to spend so much time in the hospital and right now I want to wish you all Good Luck for a full speedy recovery. I'll be pulling for you. Have autographed the inclosed [sic] photo as you ask. The original of this photo was taken in 1904 in St. Louis Mo., while with the Browns (Ancient History Eh?). My autograph on the photo is correct. The name Bob was given me by my first big league manager Pat Tebeau when I joined the Cleveland Club in 1894 and the name stuck with me all the years. Thanks for your letter and again wishing you all Good Luck for a full speedy recovery. Sincerely Roderick John Wallace.

Both the text and signature have been boldly scripted in blue ink and grade "10." Roderick Wallace is probably one of the most obscure Hall of Fame players, which is most likely the result of his having played for the woeful St. Louis Browns for twenty seasons, beginning in 1899. That, plus the fact that his only postseason appearance was in the 1896 Temple Cup Series, as a pitcher no less (he began his career as a pitcher and moved to the infield in 1897), has further removed him from the minds of most fans. (Wallace holds the record for having played the most years in the Major Leagues without appearing in a World Series game.) Wallace was an outstanding defensive shortstop and even though his lifetime average of .268 is one of the lowest for any Hall of Fame player, his career batting totals are more than respectable, including 2,309 hits, 1,057 runs scored, and 201 stolen bases. Wallace was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1953, but died just seven years later, leaving autograph collectors just a short period of time in which to obtain his signature. This is the first Roderick Wallace handwritten letter we have ever offered and its exceptional content regarding the origin of his nickname (which we have never seen explained in any history or reference work), plus the rare complete, full-name signature, makes it one of the most desirable as well. The index card remains in Near Mint condition. Encapsulated by PSA/DNA, with the handwriting and signature certified as "Authentic." LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $500. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $1,185.00


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