Remarkable 1938 Ted Williams Handwritten Letter - Just Before Breaking Into Majors!

Sold For: $1,528

Auction Year: 2010 spring

Lot: 1020

Item Year: 1938

Category: Autographed Baseballs/Flats/Photos

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Two-page handwritten letter, dated September 20, 1938, signed by Hall of Fame outfielder Ted Williams. This is an incredible letter, written just before Williams broke into the Majors and entered the national spotlight as one of baseball's greatest stars. This letter, written to a friend just after the conclusion of his final season in the minor leagues with the Minneapolis Millers of the American Association, finds the twenty-year-old Williams in exceptionally good spirits as describes the fun he is having during a postseason barnstorming tour in South Dakota. True to his cocky and brash nature, he also revels in the summation of his year-end batting statistics. The letter, written on Alonzo Ward Hotel (Aberdeen, South Dakota) stationery, reads in full:

Dear John, We're way up here in South Dakota on our barnstorming tour. Boy! is there a lot of pheasants up here. We have a 22 so the other day we shot 3 + had a cook at one of the towns we stayed at fix them up + oh! were they good. Official averages came out and I finished up leading the league with .366 - 23 points better than anyone. 43 homer 370 total bases in 193 hits also lead league in runs batted in. I'm going to try and see the football game between Minnesota + Washington next Saturday. We play the next day so I'll probably be home around 1 or 2 of October. We played 4 games + have averaged $15.00 a game but today (Sunday) we'll probably make 30.00 apiece. I've got 4900 miles on my car + it runs like a clock. I've been getting 14.4 miles per gallon on this trip but I've been going from 65 to 90 all the way. It used to quarts of oil on the last 1000 miles but that's alright [sic] because the mechanic said I should use some oil going at that speed. - Ted. [Williams had written the words "Write Soon" above his signature, but then crossed it out.]

Both the text and signature (signed simply "Ted") are scripted in black fountain pen and grade "9/10." Accompanied by the original mailing envelope (Alonzo Ward Hotel stationery), addressed in Ted's hand to "Mr. Johnnie Lutz." As Williams cheerfully notes in his letter, he enjoyed a banner season at the plate with Minneapolis in 1938. What he failed to express, however, was the fact that his forty-three home runs was also a league high, thereby earning him the American Association Triple Crown (.366 average, 43 home runs, and 142 RBI). Those extraordinary numbers all but ensured the end of his minor-league career. The following spring he reported to the Boston Red Sox training camp, and the rest, as they say, is history. Williams immediately tore up the league (batting .327 and leading the league with 145 RBI) and within a year was being compared to the all-time greats. His numbers and legend only improved in the years to follow. This is not only an exceptionally early Ted Williams letter (the earliest we have ever seen) that truly reflects his personality and love of sports, but one with extraordinary baseball content, written at the very cusp of of Williams' universal recognition as one of baseball's greatest stars. The letter (8.25 x 11 inches) displays two horizontal fold lines, minor edge tears along the fold lines, and a few moderate creases. In Very Good to Excellent condition. The envelope (9 x 4) is in Fair condition, with numerous tears, but is still ideal for display. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open).

SOLD FOR $1,528

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