Lot 439: Unique Charles Ebbets Signed Letter on Brooklyn Dodgers Letterhead
Auction Date:6/26/2005 9:00 PM EST
Charlie Ebbets began with the Dodgers selling scorecards, but this unbelievable letter written by Ebbets in 1913 -- the same year he christened the team's new ballpark after himself -- proves that by the time he was ensconsed as team president and owner, he was a hard-headed businessman obsessive about protecting his interests. And why not, given that he'd shelled out his life savings in 1902 to buy out the club's original owners, then had to take out numerous loans to keep the team afloat. So when the possibility arose that baseball would put a minor league team in Queens, Ebbets dashed off this March 1, 1913 missive to Cincinnati Reds president August Hermann. The letter, on stationary reading "Brooklyn Ball Club, Washington Park" (Ebbets Field would open a month later), orders -- not requests -- solidarity. "My dear Mr. Hermann," it begins, "You will oblige me by voting against the proposition to permit a minor league club to locate in Long Island City. Please keep this strictly confidential" -- firmly underlining the last 2 words. He concludes, "Sincerely yours, C.H. Ebbets, President," with the NRMT signature in black pen. Thus, what we have here is an early example of owners' collusion, not to mention a one of a kind early Dodger document with an Ebbets signature. Talk about a ground rule double! 6 x 8 1/2" letter is NRMT with 2 light vertical folds and lists the club's officers above a red "Phone Flatbush 9000." Below text is a purple Ebbets Field stamping, one of the 1st ever used. One of a kind item from the inner sanctum of baseball history.
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