Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Circa 1920 Ray Chapman Original Photographs, Telegrams and Notes Archive. Circa 1920 Ray Chapman Original Photographs, Telegrams and Notes Archive. Circa 1920 Ray Chapman Original Photographs, Telegrams and Notes Archive. For baseball history buffs, a spectacular grouping that offers rare insights into the 1920 beaning by Carl Mays that took the life of Ray Chapman. Included are two framed photos of Chapman and a third of Mays, along with two other Type I photos relating to the incident from newspaper archives, two telegrams to American League President Ban Johnson from Clark Griffith and Col. Ruppert and a postcard note from a fan sent to the league president urging strong action against Mays. A 9x11" photo of Chapman in a wooden frame is complemented by an 8x9.5" newspaper archive photo of Mays in a metal frame. The Mays image shows the typical outlining work done by newspaper graphic artists of the day when prepping a photo for use in the paper. A second Chapman 5.5x7.5" photo by acclaimed photographer Paul Thompson includes the Thompson stamping on the reverse and pencil notations about Chapman's death on August 17, 1920. That image is housed in an ornate 8x10" silver frame. An 8x5.5" photo from the famed Van Oeyen Studios in Cleveland shows a throng of fans at his funeral; this image shows typical newspaper size cropping marks on the front and the Van Oeyen Studios stamping on the reverse. A second 6.5x8.5" shows a generic amateur player holding a bat and wearing what looks like a leather football helmet. This image shows the same graphic outlining on the front and a partial cutline on the reverse alluding to Chapman's death and suggesting this might be the wave of the future. Chapman's tragic death did prompt changes in Major League Baseball, most notably getting away from using badly soiled and discolored baseballs and perhaps even helping in the banning of trick pitches like the spitball, but batting helmets would not appear for more than 30 more years. A Western Union telegram from Clark Griffith to Johnson urges strong action against Mays; the telegram would grade Poor because of a missing lower-right corner, but all printing is intact. A second telegram from the Postal Telegraph company is also addressed to Johnson from Col. Ruppert, with the Yankees' owner assuring the league president that he understood the sensitive nature of the situation and pointed out that Mays would not accompany the team in an upcoming trip to Cleveland. A final note on a postcard from a Boston fan refers to "dirty Mays" and scolds Johnson for reinstating Mays from an earlier transgression. In sum, this is a fascinating archive dealing with one of the most important moments in MLB history.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2014
    30th Sunday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 10
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 316

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Sold on Nov 30, 2014 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 31 days left to consign to the 2021 September 25 Sports Showcase Auction !

    Learn about consigning with us

    I'm a relatively new client at Heritage, and Calvin Arnold, Director and Sports Card expert, has helped make me a Big fan in just a few months.
    Chuck L.,
    Encino, CA
    View More Testimonials

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search