Summer Premier Auction 2019

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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 9/28/2019

Dated June 19, 1921, this Ban Johnson letter typed on 8 by 11-inch official American League stationary, addresses allegations regarding Tris Speaker's involvement with major league baseball gambling activity. Following Tris Speaker and Ty Cobb's (both player-managers) abrupt retirement at the end of the 1926 season, the public learned soon afterwards of American League President Ban Johnson's direct involvement in Speaker and Cobb's decision. According to Johnson, a private investigation connected Cobb and Speaker directly with gambling and game-fixing activity for several seasons, using a specific incident in 1919 as Johnson's most solid and witness-supported case. After witness (and former teammate of both players) Dutch Leonard suddenly refused to testify publicly, both players coincidentally withdrew from retirement, but were mysteriously traded to other teams prior to the 1928 season. Never fully brought to the surface, it has been widely speculated that commissioner Landis was instrumental in reinstating both players (but in a less influential position) after seeing what impact the Black Sox Scandal had on baseball's credibility with the American public.

Writing to former player Joe Gedeon, Johnson states: Dear Mr. Gedeon: I received your letter this morning and was glad to have your report on the Speaker protest. Wilson certainly made a mistake in not appealing to his colleagues in the game. You can remain at Cleveland until you are further advised. Miss Hummel is mailing you letters from your wife to that point. I am glad to know Barrow is doing such thorough work in the matter of handling the gambling situation at the Polo Grounds. With kind regards, I am- Yours truly.” Letter is boldly signed in black ink by Johnson. Several mailing folds, and light soiling. Pre-certified by PSA/DNA.

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Minimum Bid: $150
Final prices include buyers premium.: $356
Number Bids: 7
Auction closed on Saturday, September 28, 2019.
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