From your friend “Babe” Ruth

Says Dawn: My late-father’s friend, Freddy, contracted Polio when they were kids, and apparently he had a tough time of it. A couple of weeks into his lengthy stay at the Children’s Hospital in Boston, Freddy (a baseball nut) was given this letter. It was from his hero, Babe Ruth, and is just so sweet.

Please don’t let this go to your head

Early-1980, whilst sitting in an Advanced Chemistry class at Laney High School in North Carolina, a clearly smitten, 18-year-old Michael Jordan wrote the following cheeky letter of apology to then-girlfriend Laquette, after recently making her “look pretty rotten.” Transcript follows. Image courtesy of Lelands. Image: Lelands Transcript Michael Jordan My Dearest Laquette How are you and your

SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS TO PLAYERS

[Warning: Extremely Colourful Language Ahead] This incredible, genuine memo, issued to all Major League Baseball teams in 1898 as part of a documented campaign spearheaded by John Brush to rid the sport of filthy language, was discovered in 2007 amongst the belongings of the late baseball historian Al Kermish, also a respected collector of memorabilia. Essentially

IN MEMORY OF A ONCE FLUID MAN

On January 31st, 1967, during a break from filming his role as Kato in Green Hornet, Bruce Lee wrote and illustrated the following letter to friend and metal-worker George Lee, the man responsible for crafting the Jeet Kune Do founder’s weaponry and other fighting equipment. This was the year Bruce Lee’s new, dynamic martial arts system

My Definite Chief Aim

When he wrote the following mission statement in January of 1969, Bruce Lee was 28 years of age and a minor TV star in the United States, having featured in a number of shows which included, most notably, the ill-fated Green Hornet series. With his second child recently born and no financial security to speak of, the clearly determined

Part of playing for high stakes under great pressure is the constant risk of mental error

On April 5th of 1993, with 11 seconds of the title game left and his team losing 73-71, acclaimed college basketball star Chris Webber infamously called a time-out when in fact his team, the Michigan Wolverines, had none remaining. The resulting foul effectively sealed their loss. Days later, the incredibly dejected member of the iconic group

Forget the impeachment of President Nixon…

May 23rd, 1974: In a bid to draw some high-profile attention to an issue which is clearly aggravating him, Hollywood director King Vidor writes a letter to renowned L.A. Times sportswriter Jim Murray and speaks of the “disgraceful” public toilets on offer at the Dodger Stadium; public toilets he claims to be the worst in the world.

You were of course the outstanding candidate

In May of 2006, armed only with a glittering virtual career on Football Manager 2005 and limited success in charge of a local under-11s team, then-25-year-old John Boileau made the leap and applied — with tongue firmly in cheek — to become the new manager of Middlesbrough Football Club. Below are his covering letter and

Regarding your stupid complaint

In November of 1974, an attorney named Dale Cox wrote to his favourite American football club, the Cleveland Browns, and informed them that a number of the team’s fans were regularly throwing paper aeroplanes in the stadium — a potentially “dangerous” activity that could, he warned, cause “serious eye injury” to innocent fans such as himself. His stern letter

I don’t support Clay’s decision to refuse induction

“Ain’t no Vietcong ever called me Nigger.” – Muhammad Ali, 1966. In a frank letter to friend William Reinmuth in May of 1967, retired heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano weighs in on the debate surrounding fellow boxer Muhammad Ali‘s public refusal, in 1966, to serve in the U. S. Army during the Vietnam War. The situation

I can only drive a car in which I have some confidence

Above: Rindt’s non-fatal crash in 1969. Photographer unknown. Source. This past week was the 40th anniversary of the death of Jochen Rindt, the only posthumous Formula 1 World Champion. Rindt was a singular talent who, like many other unique drivers, did not survive the very dangerous sport of Formula 1 racing. Up until very recently

I can’t be stopped

Although unsurprising, it’s fascinating to see early flashes of Muhammad Ali‘s confidence and charm as illustrated by the following letter. This was in October of 1961, Ali was aged just nineteen, and in fact wasn’t Ali at all but rather Cassius Clay; he had ninety-five amateur wins and nine professional victories already under his belt;

Fancy a game of baseball?

During the sport’s infancy, prior to the days of schedules and organised fixtures, American baseball teams formally arranged games by way of the postal system, in the form of the ‘challenge letter’. Below is one such charming invitation, sent in 1860 by Jersey City’s Hamilton Base Ball Club to the New York Knickerbockers; a team

I am going to put the Commission out of commission

Born in 1863, one-time blacksmith Bob ‘The Freckled Freak’ Fitzsimmons was the world’s first three-division champion boxer and, as a result of his phenomenal upper-body strength, possessed the hardest punch of all fighters by quite a margin. Just prior to writing the following letter on his truly magnificent, befittingly boastful letterhead, the boxing commission had

Lou Gehrig’s Disease

In July of 1939, after nine years of fruitless treatment, multiple sclerosis sufferer Bess Bell Neely took a chance and wrote to baseball legend Lou Gehrig in the hope that he may be able to help. Gehrig himself had been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis the previous month following a visible decline in his health

This issue transcends all others

2 years prior to Hitler‘s rise to power in 1933, Germany was chosen as host of the 1936 Olympic Games. As the games approached and Hitler’s regime shocked the world, the air was filled with rumours of boycott, both from individual athletes and entire governments. Walter White, then executive secretary of the NAACP, wrote a

It would be best for the country to keep baseball going

On December 7th of 1941, the Japanese Navy carried out a devastating attack on the U.S.’s naval base at Pearl Harbor, and ultimately sealed the Americans’ participation in World War II.  Just a month later, Kenesaw Landis — then-Commissioner of Baseball in the U.S. — asked President Roosevelt whether the upcoming baseball season should be called off in