Spring, 2019 Premier Auction
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 4/14/2019

As students of history, one of our favorite types of memorabilia to research are pieces that relate to amateur or University teams, with players whose names are lost to history.  We're fascinated by pieces from the early days of the game, before it was taken over by professionals, when our sport was still evolving and taking shape.

Presented here is an incredible document from those days, an 11-page handwritten letter written to one Faber Ashton, Esquire of Philadelphia, from his friend John.  Dated October 31, 1869, the letter is written on 5" x 8" stationery sheets in black ink. John, a student at Tufts University, writes to his friend of "all the college news," which begins of the tale of John selling a bureau and using the proceeds to purchase a desk on which he is writing the letter.  He then proceeds to tell some stories about his classmates, before arriving at the good stuff:

"Base-ball next, of course.  To begin with, I am in the first line.  I have played their right field all the season.  My play in the field has been only average, though I have been improving steadily.  I have made very fair catches & some awful muffs.  My batting has improved a great deal.  They count me as one of the heaviest strikers, though I have been very unfortunate by my score.  We played a game with the Harvard (unint) on Jarvis, in which game we were beaten 36 to 5!  In that game I made two of the five runs.  We had been blinded twice, first and second inning.  I went to the bat made a bully strike, away down the left field, got my second, stole to third and came home with the first tally.  This was off Grey's pitching.  I did precisely the same thing again and made my second (unint).  But I have been very unfortunate in my strikes since then.  Either I have made good strikes and been put out by some very sharp fielding (this has happened four or five times) or I have been forced out or left after earning on base fairly.  Next season I hope to improve.  I hope you won't think me egotistical in speaking about myself.  You were always interested in my progress as a ballist, so I confide this in you."

Some research indicates that the sender was likely John Coleman Adams, a member of the 1869 team, listed as the right fielder thanks to Tufts University, who has undertaken a project to document all the school's athletic rosters.  Allen devotes a number of pages in the letter, describing both the Tufts and Harvard teams.  An outstanding historical document, a first-hand account of baseball in its earliest days.  We'd like to return phrases to the vernacular like "bully strike" and "I hope you won't think me egotistical in speaking about myself."  Outstanding condition, well-preserved, a remarkable piece.

Incredible 1869 11-Page Handwritten Letter With Tufts University Baseball ContentIncredible 1869 11-Page Handwritten Letter With Tufts University Baseball ContentIncredible 1869 11-Page Handwritten Letter With Tufts University Baseball ContentIncredible 1869 11-Page Handwritten Letter With Tufts University Baseball ContentIncredible 1869 11-Page Handwritten Letter With Tufts University Baseball ContentIncredible 1869 11-Page Handwritten Letter With Tufts University Baseball ContentIncredible 1869 11-Page Handwritten Letter With Tufts University Baseball ContentIncredible 1869 11-Page Handwritten Letter With Tufts University Baseball ContentIncredible 1869 11-Page Handwritten Letter With Tufts University Baseball Content
Incredible 1869 11-Page Handwritten Letter With Tufts University Baseball Content
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Bidding
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Minimum Bid: $300
Final prices include buyers premium.: $0
Number Bids: 0
Auction closed on Sunday, April 14, 2019.
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