Lot 965: DS, signed "C. Mathewson," one page, 7.75 x 7.25, no date but circa 1923-1925. Extraordinary document in which Mathewson, as president of the Boston Braves, submits a proposition for an insurance plan for the team's players. He requests coverage for the seven months of the baseball season, splitting the roster into two sections, the first to insure his 15 starters for "Accident & Health, On and off field" at a rate of $1094.10, and the second to insure his backups for "Life & Limb, On and off field" at a rate of $291.90. He goes on to explain: "Item 1. 15 Men is on the basis of the first team line-up of 9 men plus 4 extra pitchers, 1 extra catcher and 1 extra utility fielder. Item 2. Is for 10 men on balance of 25 limit, who are not playing regularly. We suggest this form at lower rate for them, as in the event of accident you would not have as severe a loss as they do not play regularly. This is merely a suggestion. Any variations possible." In fine condition, with intersecting folds (one vertical fold passing through a single letter of the signature) and expected document wear.
The content and Mathewson's post-retirement signature variation date this document to his time as president of the Boston Braves, a position in which he served from 1923 until his death in 1925. While the Braves teams during his tenure were largely unsuccessful, they featured some of the greatest players of the era, including Casey Stengel, Billy Southworth, Dave Bancroft, Jocko Conlan, and Rube Marquard, all of whom would have been covered by the insurance policy outlined in this document. This type of coverage would have been an important expenditure for the Braves ownership to protect their investment in the team, as Mathewson helped to oversee an increase in players' salaries from a total of $80,000 in 1922 to over $200,000 in 1923. Of the five members of the first Hall of Fame class-Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Babe Ruth, and Honus Wagner, his peers-Mathewson's autograph is the rarest in any form. Accompanied by a full letter of authenticity from PSA/DNA.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs & Artifacts
Friday, 23rd October 2015
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