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    1920 Ban Johnson's Personal Files Regarding the Ray Chapman Tragedy. After decades of seclusion in the files of the former American League president Ban Johnson, this extraordinary compilation of correspondence related to Yankees pitcher Carl Mays' fatal fastball invites the reader into the maelstrom of the Chapman incident. There is far too much information here to encapsulate in an auction lot's text, but the highlights include: 1) A pair of handwritten letters from home plate umpire Thomas Connolly to Johnson. Some text: "Yesterday afternoon before the game I found Mays alone in dressing room in civilian clothes. I asked him if he had made the statement attributed to him that had been sent out of New York that I refused to throw ball out that he hit Chapman with. He denied he ever said so to any one." 2) A letter from a professor at The Catholic University of America: "Furthermore, it is my belief that, in throwing out of its ranks all pitchers who resort to 'bean ball' tactics, baseball will continue to be a safe, sane and gentlemanly game." 3) Four telegrams from Yankees team owner Jake Ruppert: "The deplorable death of Ray Chapman caused by the ball pitched by Carl Mays has been officially declared by the District Attorney's office to have been purely accidental. The public press states that the players of the Boston and Detroit clubs are agitating a strike to banish player Mays from baseball. We hope this is not serious but merely hysteria due to the shock over the calamity..." 4) Ban Johnson telegram to manager of St. Louis Browns James T. Burke: "Action of St. Louis players in Mays matter ill-advised. It is folly for anyone to publicly assume Chapman was intentionally hit." 5) Letter to Johnson from spectator at game. "Mays was not to blame in the Chapman case at all--it was an accident, pure and simple." 6) Another letter to Johnson from a fan: "Undoubtedly baseball would be much better off without Mays..." 7) Letter to Johnson from The Sporting News: "Chappie's funeral was the largest I have ever seen anyhwere. It was a wonderful testament to his popularity." 8) Letter to Johnson from umpire George Moriarty: "One of the articles contains a statement by pitcher Mays, in which he says that Chapman 'crowded the plate.' This is the weakest excuse possible, and so unfair to the late shortstop of the Cleveland Club." 9) Letter to Johnson from Connie Mack: "It may be possible that the move on foot by the players will not be successful but should the players of a number of our clubs agree with the movement started by the Cleveland players it will then place our league in a very embarrassing position." 10) Jake Ruppert (secretarially signed) letter to Ban Johnson: "The question: 'In case Mays is pitched in a game with the St. Louis Browns and that club refuses to play and the game is therefore forfeited according to the rules, could not the game of next day be then played in order not to disappoint the patrons?'" 11) Copy of text of Chapman eulogy. 12) Various correspondence relating to the League's coverage of Chapman funeral costs. 13) Letter to Swirsky (2001) from Chapman's sister remembering her fallen brother. Ruppert signatures secretarial. Pre-certified by PSA/DNA. Auction LOA from James Spence Authentication.

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2012
    3rd-5th Thursday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 906

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