Greatest Thrill Letters
Fabulous cache of revealing, signed personal letters covering more than a half-century of baseball history.1) Wally Pipp is forever linked to Lou Gehrig, from when Gehrig replaced him and started his miraculous streak of 2,130 consecutive games. Here, Pipp responded in 1944 to a fan's request to name his biggest thrill in baseball, and Pipp cites the 1923 World Series victory of the Yankees over the New York Giants.2) Monty Stratton 1960 letter to Hal Lebovitz, of The Cleveland Plain Dealer, in which former White Sox star pitcher Stratton discusses his amazing comeback. While hunting, Stratton tripped and accidentally caused his shotgun to fire into his right leg, resulting in an amputation. Although he never made it back to the big leagues, Stratton's comeback drew wide attention and his life was made into a major motion picture, The Stratton Story, 1949, with Jimmy Stewart in the title role.3) Letter from George R. Stone, a potential Hall of Famer (And No, not George H. Stone, former Mets pitcher, no relation). Stone batted .301 lifetime, and in 1906, as a St. Louis Brown, he won the American League Batting Title with a .358 average, beating out 4-time AL Batting Champ Napoleon Lajoie. Stone is the only player to win a batting title from 1901-1928 and not be in Hall of Fame. In a letter, apparently to a fan, Stone named Cristy Matthewson (Interestingly, Stone spelled it as Crisy Matheson) and Walter Johnson as the greatest pitchers of all-time. Stone was Jewish.4) Brooks Robinson was perhaps the greatest fielding third baseman of all-time. Here, Hall of Famer Robinson lists winning the World Series with his Baltimore Orioles as his biggest thrill and names Jim Katt as a player not in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, but should be.