Yankees Signed Baseball and Huggins Letters

Value (2010) | $14,000 Auction$20,000 Auction

You've brought these great letters from Dorothy Fitz. Was she related to you?

She was not related to me. She lived in St. Petersburg, Florida, where the Yankees had spring training for several years, and the way I understand it, she received this baseball from Miller Huggins, who became her real good friend, and these letters are to her from Miller Huggins.

Well, how did you get them, though?

I got them from her grandson, who went to college at Montana State University in Bozeman about 20 years ago, and he was needing some money for college, so I purchased the letters and the ball from him.

Miller Huggins, best known for being a manager of the New York Yankees. When everyone thinks of the Yankees of the 1920s, who do you think of first?

They always think of Babe Ruth.

Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.

And Lou Gehrig.

But someone had to corral all these guys.

That's correct.

And it was Miller Huggins. He started out as a baseball player. He was only five-six. He was known as "Mighty Mite." Managed the Cardinals, but he came over to the Yankees just about the same time Ruth did. I think he came over a year earlier, and he led them to three world championships, six American League pennants, before he died in 1929. The best thing I love about Miller Huggins is that he was not afraid of Babe Ruth, who was known for his carousing, for his womanizing, for his late nights. And in fact, in 1925, Huggins suspended him indefinitely, but it ended up being a couple of weeks, and fined him $5,000 for misconduct for the team. Well, let's pick up the story. We have this card here from Miller Huggins to Dorothy, saying "Uncle Miller." So obviously he must have been a family friend of some type, not a romantic relationship. And this 1927 World Series ball. Now, the first thing we look for, of course, are Ruth and Gehrig, but here's Huggins on there, who is far rarer because he died in 1929. There's the Ruth, of course, that you want to see on the sweet spot. And you have Gehrig here. The letter is my favorite, because here's a handwritten letter from Huggins, which you never see, to Dorothy, and in it he talks about the Yankees and how she gave him a four-leaf clover that he could put in his hat. He was going to take it out when the season was over. But the Yankees were in second place, and he wasn't sure that they were going to get out of second place. Well, of course, that was the year that the Athletics went in, took over, came out 104, I believe, and 46, and the Yankees, even with their phenomenal team, which is considered the greatest of all times, came 18 games behind them. When you purchased these, how much did you pay for them?

I believe it was around $2,500.

The letters are actually rarer than the baseball. If I were going to put a value on the baseball, auction value, I would put on somewhere between $8,000 and $12,000. The letters, because they're from Miller, because he died of blood poisoning... Some people say that, some people say it was a skin infection. He lost weight, he went into the hospital in New York, never was able to come out. These letters I'd put at about $6,000 to $8,000.

That's amazing.

Appraisal Details

Leila Dunbar Appraisals & Consulting, LLC
Washington, DC
Appraised value (2010)
$14,000 Auction$20,000 Auction
Billings, MT (June 26, 2010)
20th Century
Leather, Paper

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