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Hand-Written White Sox Contract Summaries – 1918, 1920

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Hand-Written White Sox Contract Summaries – 1918, 1920

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As supported by letters of authenticity from Mrs. Bill Veeck, we present these two ledger-book summaries of White Sox contracts from the era of the great scandal. Both of these, according to the LOA’s, are from the business diary of Harry Grabiner whose tenure transcended the ownership of Charlie Comiskey and Bill Veeck. Both of these summaries are fountain-penned (in identical penmanship) and most likely from the hand of Grabiner, himself. The first of these, placed on a single, lined sheet, is dated “5/23/18”, and titled simply “Contracts 1918.” Forty players are itemized on this sheet – 29 on the front and the balance on the reverse. All of the principals on the roster appear on the front. There, we learn that Eddie Collins, at fifteen grand, was collecting twice as much as the second-highest paid associate, manager Pants Rowland. (We qualify this observation to note that the entry for Collins, as well as a few others, arcanely indicates “1918 – 1919 D.”) The team’s other two eventual Hall of Famers, Ray Schalk and Red Faber, were slated for about $7100 and $4000 respectively. Of the infamous eight, Eddie Cicotte fared the best with a $5000 salary plus a $2000 signing bonus. In turn, Jackson and Buck Weaver were granted $6000.
We then turn our attention to the similar summary of 1920. Though without a precise date, this sheet is titled “Contracts 1920.” The Sox, by this time, had just won a pennant, but mysteriously buckled in the World Series. Nonetheless, if we should believe these hand-written reports, most of the players managed decent pay increases since 1918. There are 44 players and field staff itemized, front and back, of the single sheet. Pants Rowland doesn’t appear as he was dismissed after the ’18 season (considering the team’s losing record after the 1917 World Championship). Now guiding the Sox was Kid Gleason who was indicated to receive $11,000 for this 1920 season. Eddie Collins was on a multi-year contract with no adjustment to his compensation. But hefty improvements were slated for Ray Schalk, as well as the returning conspirators…the operative term here is ‘returning.’ The real charm in this 1920 piece is the name that’s omitted – Chick Gandil. It was he who orchestrated the whole deal of throwing the 1919 Series, and it’s believed that Gandil pocketed about $35,000 – far exceeding pay-offs to any of the others. Simply put, he didn’t report for the 1920 season, but instead chose to ride the crest of his new-found fortune. Both of these sheets are in very acceptable condition with no extraneous writing or damage to the media.
There’s yet another sheet offered here. It’s an unlined 8″ x 10″ with penciled notes on the entire front and about a half of the reverse. The penmanship is uncertain (but could be Grabiner’s as well). These notes are a bit cryptic, but appear to have been written in 1920. Some of these entries mention contract proposals, but others have ominous tones…”Faber was down to see Landis 2/15, was out but saw nothing.” And another records “Crusenberry did not know what the news of the leak was and nothing further has been done – the papers have dropped the matter.” This is an intriguing piece that begs for more research.

PSA-DNA Auction House Letter, Veeck Estate Letters

1917,1919,1920,Letter,Record  Bill Veeck,Buck Weaver,Charlie Comiskey,Eddie Cicotte,Eddie Collins,Harry Grabiner,Ray Schalk

Auction End: 31-Jul-05  Post Views: 3771

Price; $0.00 – $200.00




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