Ban Johnson 190 Letter with Historical Baseball Content to HOFer Jimmy Collins

Ban Johnson (D. 1931) was the founder of the American League, Ban Johnson was baseball's most influential executive for nearly a quarter of a century. As president of the Western League, he changed its name to the American League in 1900 and claimed major league status the following year. Despite opposition by National League owners, the new league quickly proved its competitiveness on the field and at the gate. Johnson became the most significant member of the National Commission, baseball's ruling body until 1920. He was elected to the Baseball HOF in 1937.

We offer a 2 page Typed letter that was the league’s copy on American League letterhead to Baseball Hall of Famer, James “Jimmy” Collins who s was especially regarded for his defense. He was best known for his ability to field a bunt—prior to his debut, it was the shortstop who fielded bunts down the third base line—and is regarded as a pioneer of the modern defensive play of a third baseman. As of 2012, he is second all-time in putouts by a third baseman behind Brooks Robinson. At the plate, Collins finished his career with 65 home runs, 1055 runs scored, 983 RBI and a .294 batting average.

Collins was also the first manager of the Boston Red Sox franchise, then known as the Boston Americans. He was the winning manager in the first-ever World Series, as Boston defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1903 World Series, five games to three.

Extraordinary content dated February 3, 1906 regarding Emmet Heidrick’s return to baseball (Heidrick D. 1916 at age 39 from the flu) In 1901, Heidrick's father accidentally killed himself when he knocked over a loaded gun in his closet at home.

Before the 1902 season, Heidrick was part of a dispute that was heard before the Supreme Court of Missouri. Heidrick, Bobby Wallace and Jack Harper signed with the St. Louis Browns, but Frank Robison claimed to still have them under contract. Robison took the matter of Wallace's contract to court. The Supreme Court of Missouri ruled against Robison, and the ruling was understood to apply to the other two players as well.

After three years with the Browns, Heidrick retired in 1904 and joined the lumber business run by his family. He returned to the field with the Browns briefly in 1908. As late as 1911, he was playing for a local team in Brookville, Pennsylvania.

In 757 games played, Heidrick batted .300 (914-3047) with 468 runs scored, 16 home runs, 342 RBI, 186 stolen bases, an on-base percentage of .333 and slugging percentage of .399 in eight seasons.

Johnson writes that Mr. Hedges (the owner of the St. Louis Browns at the time) would not entertain a proposition for the player (Heidrick).  He then mentions a letter from George Tebeau (who played Major League Baseball from 1887-1895) regarding the contract with Louisville about an outfielder, (Bill) Clay (who played in Louisville in 1905 and in the big leagues for Philadelphia in 1902). He mentions General Taylor (owner of the Boston Red Sox) and equates his position to that of Connie Mack (of the Philadelphia Athletics).

He offers to set up a meeting between Collins and Taylor in Boston; as Collins was the manager of the Boston Americans (Red Sox) at the time.

Some context to the purpose of this meeting, “In 1905, the Americans slipped to fourth place, and Collins clashed with team president John I. Taylor, reportedly quitting on the team during the season. As a player, Collins batted .276, but again missed time due to injury. In 1906, Collins found himself in hot water, as not only were the Americans in last, but he himself was suspended twice, and was eventually was replaced as manager by Chick Stahl. He also missed the end of the season with a knee injury.

Collins began the 1907 season with Boston, but it was only a matter of time before he departed. For reasons that have never become clear, Stahl had committed suicide during spring training; instead of Collins, the Americans turned to Cy Young as manager, following by George Huff, and then Bob Unglaub, all within the first three months of the season. After playing 41 games with the Americans, Collins was traded to the Philadelphia Athletics in June for infielder John Knight. While he batted .278, he had a career-low (to that point) .330 slugging percentage, and failed to hit a home run for the first time in his career. In 1908, he slumped even further, batting just .217, and was let go.”

Although not signed, this letter is historically significant about the inner workings of Major League Baseball and correspondence between two Baseball Hall of Famers at the turn of the Century.

Item: 12965

Price: $199.00
Ban Johnson 190  Letter with Historical Baseball Content to HOFer Jimmy Collins