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1910 Chief Bender Signed Barnstorming Letter

Lot Number 770

Quantity: Bid Starts: 04/27/2018 12:00:00 
Bid Open: 1800.00  Bid Ends: 05/10/2018 22:00:00 
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Hail a great baseball Chief with this historically significant signed letter. Charles Albert "Chief" Bender (d.1954) was a primal force for the Philadelphia Athletics first and second great dynasties of the early of 20th Century. Mastering the "nickle-curve", the crafty righty was integral to the A's success, helping the team to five AL pennants and three World Series victories during his 1903-1914 tenure with Connie Mack's great "White Elephants". Like many players of his day, this noble Native American was displeased with the control of baseball's National Commission and salary structure. In 1915 Bender jumped ship to join the Baltimore Terrapins for a substantial pay increase, a move he later regretted. Perhaps one of the actions that led to his move to the short-lived Federal League, occurred in 1910.

Penned entirely in Bender's hand, the offered letter is a response to an offer for a barnstorming tour that was squashed by the National Commission. This letter is addressed to "D.A. Fletcher", a Cincinnati based promoter who was attempting to assemble teams of NL and AL stars for a ten game tour following the 1910 World Series. In the contents, Bender replies "will say that I will play" and in a postscript he provides his uniform measurements. Letters from other period greats such as Walter Johnson, John McGraw, Mordecai Brown and more have surfaced, indicating the event would have likely been very successful. It has also been reported in news print that Fletcher tried to establish a third major league that same off-season, claiming he had signed dozens of top MLB stars. Bender went on to suffer one subpar season in the Federal League, before returning to the Majors with the Phillies in 1916.

Measuring 6x8, the offered letter is handwritten on a sheet of Colonial Hotel of Cleveland letterhead dated "9/21/10". This straight to the point correspondence shows (VG-EX) quality with two expected period compacting folds that do not affect the letter's contents or the treasured HOFer autograph. Bender has signed as "C.A. Bender" with resolute ("9") strength and also initialed "G.A.B." following the postscript, again with ("9") potency. Auction LOA from JSA.

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