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    1912 John Montgomery Ward Signed Letter. His influence on the early game was felt in nearly every facet. On the field, Ward was both a star batsman and pitcher, widely credited along with Candy Cummings as an innovator of the curveball. He pitched nearly 600 innings a year in his prime, leading the 1879 Providence Grays to a first place finish with forty-seven victories. When he injured his pitching arm in 1884, he taught himself to throw left-handed and played out the rest of the season in center field.

    But perhaps even more significant was his early efforts for labor rights in professional baseball, and Ward was a major figure (and player/manager for the Brooklyn Ward's Wonders) in the bold but ultimately unsuccessful experiment of the Brotherhood League in 1890. A quarter century later he would again fight for fair player wages with the only slightly longer-lived Federal League, serving time as president and part owner of the Boston Braves franchise in the interim.

    It is here that we find Ward, directing a brief typed letter to National League president T. J. Lynch that once accompanied the contract of player Otto Hess. Despite Ward's long and distinguished service to our National Pastime, his autograph remains maddeningly elusive to collectors a half-century after his 1964 Hall of Fame induction. The offered specimen rates a solid 9/10 in black fountain pen ink, and the standard-sized page of "Boston National League Baseball Company" letterhead presents perfectly with only typical mailing folds and a filing hole at upper left corner to report as condition caveats. Full LOA from PSA/DNA.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2014
    15th-17th Thursday-Saturday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 17
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,720

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