1955 Billy Southworth Handwritten Letter

Sold For: $823

Auction Year: 2010 spring

Lot: 1081

Item Year: 1955

Category: Autographed Baseballs/Flats/Photos

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One-page handwritten letter, dated November 4, 1955, signed by Hall of Fame player/manager Billy Southworth. In his letter, scripted upon Milwaukee Braves "Minor League Operations" letterhead, Southworth responds to a fan who requested an autograph. (Interesting note: The fan was George Hipp, who was a very active collector in the 1950s). In full: "I will be very happy to autograph your baseball, just send it along and I will be proud and happy to accommodate you. Kindest wishes, Sincerely yours - Billy Southworth." Both the text and signature are boldly rendered in blue fountain pen and grade "10." Southworth was working as a scout with the Braves at the time of this letter, as noted by his preprinted name and title in the upper left corner. Although Southworth enjoyed a successful playing career (he batted .345 in the 1926 World Series), his Hall of Fame credentials are based largely upon his managerial record. Southworth won three consecutive pennants, and two World Championships, with the St. Louis Cardinals between the years 1942 and 1944. Later, in 1948, he captured another pennant with the Boston Braves. It was during that season that Southworth coined one of Baseball's most famous and often-repeated stanzas. When a reporter asked him what his pitching strategy consisted of, he promptly replied, "Spahn, Sain, and pray for rain." Today, Southworth's lifetime managerial winning percentage of .597 ranks fifth all time, and second behind only Joe McCarthy with regard to modern-day managers. Southworth passed away in 1969, but wasn't elected to the Hall of Fame until 2008. Those circumstances have resulted in the scarcity of many Billy Southworth signed items today, especially letters. The offered letter (8.5 x 11 inches) displays one vertical and two horizontal mailing folds and is otherwise in Near Mint condition. This is an exceptional Billy Southworth handwritten letter; the first we have ever offered. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $300. Estimate $500/$1,000.


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