Fittingly dubbed “The Kingpin of the Orioles,” Hall of Fame outfielder Joe Kelley was a high spirited performer whose temperament mirrored the collective demeanor of a team known for its win-at-all-costs antics. The offered correspondence was composed entirely in Kelley’s hand well after his remarkable playing career. Framed to 23-1/8 x 13-1/8”, a sheet (8 x 12-3/4” visible area) is dated “Dec 12th, 32” in “Baltimore.” The content is Kelley’s compliant reply to an autograph request. At the conclusion, Kelley’s black-ink fountain endorsement (signed “Joseph J. Kelley”) projects (“9-10”) strength and clarity and is easily the most potent Kelley scripting we’ve ever seen. Full photo LOA from JSA. More on our website.
The letter reads (in full):
Dec 12th, 32
Mr Charles Hartzell
16 N. Calhoun St.
Dear Mr. Hartzell
I am returning the story and photo of yours truly with my autograph on same and hope it is to your wishes.
It is certainly fine at the twilight of life after (illegible) over younger days in front of the public I know that we are not forgotten and I want again to thank you for your kind remembrance
(signed) Joseph J. Kelley”
The sheet has normal horizontal mailing folds (far from Kelley’s bold signature). Accenting the display is an image of Kelley’s Hall of Fame plaque.
With the simple notation of “Baltimore” atop the page, the piece speaks volumes of not only that city’s rich baseball heritage, but of the loyalty and civic pride that somehow magically bound Baltimore players to a city that embraced them and, in a good way, forever held them captive. This letter was written, as noted, in 1932. Kelley’s career had long-since been completed. Yet he remained in Baltimore (and would until his death in 1943). Several other Orioles of those 1894, 1895 and 1896 championship teams also remained and died in Baltimore, though they were born elsewhere. Additionally, both John McGraw and Wilbert Robinson died in 1934; McGraw in New Rochelle, New York and Robinson in Atlanta, Georgia. Yet both were transported back to Baltimore and buried in New Cathedral Cemetery. Three years later, Hall of Fame manager Ned Hanlon (who hailed from Connecticut) was also buried in New Cathedral Cemetery.
Frames included with lots: while we make every effort to protect the frames included in these lots during pre-auction storage and post-auction shipping, we are not responsible for any damage to the frames themselves, and no refunds will be given due to frame damage.