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Wrong Harry Wright?

Harry Wright



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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19148

United States

Company Description

Philadelphia Media Holdings (PMH), LLC, is the leading media company in the Philadelphia region. Privately held and locally owned, PMH is the owner of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News, Philly.com and related online products, as well as Broad Street Public...more

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Background Information

Employment History


Society for American Baseball Research




HowStuffWorks Inc






Baseball Hall of Fame


American Institute of Architects


National Association of Professional Baseball Players league


A.G. Spalding & Bros. Company


Boston Base Ball Club


Boston Red Stockings



Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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League Leaders « Phillies Red Pinstripes

Philadelphia Phillies - Year 8: The Phillies finished in third place in the NL, inspite of losing their manager Harry Wright for most of the season as he goes blind.
The Phillies would continue to play their home games at the Philadelphia Base Ball Grounds, while Harry Wright would begin his seventh season as the team's manager, trying to see if he can finally pilot the team to a league pennant. The Phillies would spend most of the year without their manager as Harry Wright would become blind on May 22. He would not be able to distinguish light from dark for ten days and would not return to manage the Phils until August 6. As Wright recovers, the Phillies would originally replace him with catcher Jack Clements, thus making him the fourth manager in Phillies' history and the team's second player-manager. Wright would return on August 6, leading the team during the final two-plus months of the pennant race, leading the Phils to its third third place finish, as he compiled a record of 36-31-1 in sixty-eight games, for a winning percentage of .537. As 1888 dawns, Harry Wright was starting his fifth year as the Phillies' manager, leading a team that hoped to use their momentum from the previous season where they went 17-0-1 in their last 18 games, lead by their pitcher-second baseman Charlie Ferguson, to finally win the organization's first pennant. In 1887, in the fourth year of Harry Wright's tenure as the Phillies/Quakers' managers, the team would finish in second place for the first time in the team's long existance. The Phillies would begin their long trip by losing their series with the Nationals, 1-2, before going on to Pittsburgh to win their series with the Alleghenys, 2-1, ending July with a record of 13-10 and with an overall record of 37-36-3, and poised to make a pennant run, as Harry Wright prepares to turn his best starter, Charlie Ferguson, into an everyday player, as well as his pitching ace, because of Ferguson's .300 batting average. With Harry Wright now entering his third year as the Phillies' manager, and with two 20 games winners in Charlie Ferguson and Ed Daily (although both pitchers were also 20 games losers), the Phillies would be positioned to improve on their third place finish of 1885.


Reach hired the respected Harry Wright to manage the Phillies
in 1884, and while Wright failed to lead them to a pennant in his 10 years at the helm, he did make them respectable. His

Hauls of Shame - Breaking News

Back in the 1950s, Dorothy Seymour Mills held Harry Wright's letters in her own hands at the New York Public Library's famous Spalding Baseball Collection.
A few of the most important documents the Seymour's discovered in the treasure trove of missives were poignant letters to Wright from pitcher Jim Devlin who had been banished for "throwing games" in one of baseball's first gambling scandals. The letters were offered by Hunt as a "Cache of Rare 19th Century Letters With Relation to Harry Wright. Hunt told the New York Times that his consignor found the stash of letters in a "grandparents estate" while Harry Wright's granddaughter, Pam Guzzi, asked Times reporter Jack Curry, "Why would someone have them if they weren't related to him? A letter sent by player Dan Casey to Harry Wright in 1889 appeared as the first "Wright Letters" lot in the 2009 Hunt/MLB catalog before it was turned over to the FBI in 2009 as a document suspected to have been stolen from the NYPL Wright scrapbooks. In July, the same letter was posted for sale on eBay in two parts, one of which being Harry Wright's notations written on the letter for his response. The seller ended the auction when contacted by Haulsofshame.com. The cabinet photo of Wright pictured has also been stolen from the NYPL and is currently listed on the NYPL's "Missing List." The owner of the stolen Wright letters reached out to collectors on Luckey's forum in late January asking what the value of a Jim Devlin letter to Harry Wright might be. The consignor also posted a link to Haulsofshame.com's "10 Most Wanted National Baseball Treasures" list and pointed to another Devlin letter written to Wright which was also part of the NYPL collection but not part of the Hunt cache he inherited from a grandparent. A collector responded to the consignor's message in February and says that he purchased the documents for his personal collection. "He told me they were returned and his to do whatever he wanted to. The FBI gave him their blessing so I bought them," he said. The buyer also confirmed that the two Devlin letters were in the consignor's possession and that he had been "saving up to purchase one of the Devlin letters, too. Viewing Halper's collection at his residence in July of 1977, Bill Madden wrote a feature for his "The Sports Collector" column and highlighted a Devlin letter to Wright and another from slugger Ed Delahanty's father sent to Wright in 1889. Viewing Halper's collection at his residence in July of 1977, Bill Madden wrote a feature for his "The Sports Collector" column and highlighted a Devlin letter to Wright and another from slugger Ed Delahanty's father sent to Wright in 1889. It's a letter written by James Devlin to Harry Wright. It should be noted that the surviving Wright Scrapbook No. 2 (which is still at the NYPL) includes two additional letters from Devlin to Wright dated February 24, 1878 and November 14, 1879. Barry Halper sits in his den c.1984 with a stolen 1879 contract signed by Harry Wright hanging on his wall (outlined in red). Halper had many other stolen NYPL items including an 1875 letter awarding Boston the pennant documented in the Seymour notes at Cornell (top left); photos of Wright (bottom right) and others with obscured NYPL ownership stamps like the CDV depicted here of Andrew Peck. Most notable was a letter to Wright from Morgan Bulkeley awarding Boston the 1875 Pennant and another was an 1879 contract signed by Wright and player Ezra Sutton. In addition to documents, Halper also had many rare photographs that exhibited evidence of an NYPL ownership stamp, including several portraits of Harry Wright. Harry Wright (inset) never envisioned his letter (center right) on ebay; Protesters say the NYPL is being "Looted" by trustees (right). Historians like Mills view the recent give-away of the valuable Harry Wright letters as a similar travesty of scholarship and a violation of the wishes of Harry Wright who bequeathed his baseball archive to the National League and Spalding in 1894 so it could serve as "a nucleus or beginning of a historical collection of memoranda and facts bearing upon our grand national game of baseball. The give away of the documents that represented Harry Wright's life's work has come as a great surprise to his great-great granddaughter, Pam Guzzi, who was shaken by the news. MLB Commish Bud Selig (left) has made no effort to recover Wright's letters; Baseball artifact thieves have even stolen the codicil to Harry Wright's will that instructed the donation of his personal archive to the National League in 1895 (center). This 1874 Warren cabinet photo of Wright is missing from the NYPL collection and documented as NYPL property in a book by Robert Smith (right). UPDATE (July 31, 2013): Another Stolen Harry Wright Document Is Sold At Premier Auctions In Arizona For $2,244; Auction House Now Linked To Two Pages Ripped From Wright's Account Ledger Books In NYPLs Spalding Collection- On the heels of the New York Post and Haulsofshame.com reports revealing the FBI's return of stolen Harry Wright letters to the 2009 Hunt/MLB All-Star Game auction consignor, Premier Auctions of Arizona has offered and sold yet another document that clearly originated from Harry Wright's personal archive that was donated to the National League in 1895. The document signed by Harry Wright that is being offered by Premier Auctions (right) fits the description of items stolen from NYPLs Spalding Collection and the "Harry Wright Note and Account Books Collection. Approximately 6" x 7 ¾" sheet from a ledger written and signed in black fountain pen while Wright was manager of the Philadelphia Phillies in 1892, Nm/Mt signature. The sheet was for a road trip to Baltimore that season and "Statement of Baltimore trip Aug. 12/92" is handwritten by Wright on the reverse. Daryl Brock, author of If I Never Get Back, a celebrated novel that incorporates Harry Wright as a character, utilized the NYPL collection in his research and recalls viewing the first volume of Wright's "Note and Account Books" which covered the years 1860 through 1871. Premier sold the Wright document earlier this evening for $2,244, considerably less than what a legitimate document signed by Wright in ink would command. One collector told us he stayed away from the Premier lot because he believed it was stolen from the NYPL. Legitimate documents signed by Wright are very scarce and are worth anywhere from $10,000 to $25,000. There are only a handful of legitimate letters written by Wright in private hands. A Wright letter stolen from the NYPL Harry Wright scrapbooks is also being offered by Huggins & Scott in their current auction.

Hauls of Shame - Breaking News

The letters, including a famous letter written by Jim Devlin to Wright in 1877 (right), were pulled from the auction after the FBI opened an investigation.
In addition to standing idle as MLB's own baseball history was looted from the Hall and peddled off at auction, another memorabilia-themed travesty occurred during Selig's reign when MLB's 2009 All-Star Game auction featured over fifty rare documents that had originally been bequeathed to the National League in 1895 by baseball pioneer Harry Wright. Halper brazenly showed off the documents to Madden who identified the treasure trove as once belonging to Harry Wright and in the years that followed Halper sold off the archive for big money at Sotheby's in 1999, including the sale of a letter presenting Wright and his Boston Red Stockings the 1875 Pennant. A dealer recently purchased stolen documents originally willed to the National League by Harry Wright in 1895 (center). lthough they were fully aware of the facts and what was transpiring during the FBI investigation, MLB and Selig did nothing to protect or recover the documents that Harry Wright had originally donated to the National League in 1895. In essence, Harry Wright, one of the pioneers of the game and the "Father of Professional Baseball" entrusted the National League with his archive and the current MLB leadership turned their backs on the commitment that their predecessors had made in good faith. While Selig and MLB can't be held accountable for the inaction and negligence of NYPL officials like Victoria Steele and Tony Marx, they could have taken the initiative to do everything in their power to restore Harry Wright's archive to the NYPL. Guzzi, who has been waiting since 2009 to have Harry Wright's stolen papers returned to the New York Public Library, told us, "With the money MLB pulls in, I find it incredulous that the members are not more willing and active in trying to protect its history and honor the wishes of its forefathers." I feel that is honestly about 20%-25% of their "value" since there are two (James) Devlin letters and Harry Wright's acceptance letter into the Cincinnati Red Stockings. If Harry Wright had not bequeathed his archive the National League in 1895, and his treasure-trove remained in his descendants possession, the Wright family would be sitting on a small fortune worth millions of dollars. I implore Selig's successor and MLB to do the right (Wright) thing and get these documents back! By 1871, Rogers re-named his printing venture "Rogers & Fitts" at the same address and also umpired games for Harry Wright's Boston Red Stockings in the brand new National Association. Rogers assured the fans that the cards would be ready for the June 2nd game scheduled against Chicago and added that the scorecard would again depict Harry Wright (Card No. 1) by popular demand. For many years the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings trade card issued by Peck & Snyder was considered the first baseball card and in more recent times competing claims have been made in support of the c.1870 memorial trade card of pitcher Jim Creighton; the 1863 cricket-ticket CDV cards produced by Harry Wright; the 1865 CDV cards featuring Charlie Pabor and Dave Birdsall of the Union BBC of Morrisania; and the "set" of 1866 player CDVs of the Unions of Lansingburgh team created by E. S. Sterry. Claims for "first baseball card" have been made for (l to r): an 1863 CDV cricket-ticket of Harry Wright; a memorial trade card featuring Jim Creighton; CDVs of Union BBC players Birdsall and Charlie Pabor and a "set" of 1866 player portrait CDVs of the Union of Lansingburgh team. This sequence shows players from the Boston, Philadelphia and Washington teams numbered from 1 to 48. (L to R.): Harry Wright, Boston #1; Levi Meyerle, Phila. #16; Davy Force, Wash. #29; Cal McVey, Boston #48. The 1872 Warren CDV photos of Harry Wright and the Red Stockings (right) are included as baseball card issue/series. The Standard Catalog Of Vintage Baseball Cards doesn't even recognize the "1871-72 Mort Rogers Scorecards" as a baseball card issue although it does include the 1872 Warren CDV portraits of Harry Wright's Red Stockings as an actual card series. No other similar sets or groupings of the cards have ever surfaced but a handful of un-trimmed examples of full score cards featuring Harry Wright, Dave Birdsall and Cal McVey have sold at auctions ranging in price from $6,000 to $12,000 for the Wright. Un-trimmed Mort Rogers score card examples of Harry Wright, Dave Birdsall and Cal McVey sold for $12,000, $6,000 and $12,000 respectively. Appraiser Lee Dunbar told the owner, "To have this letter with Harry Wright and Spalding on it is tremendous, to have anything with their signature is phenomenal. Lee Dunbar's former employer, Sotheby's, handled one of these documents during the 1999 Barry Halper sale-the actual letter awarding Harry Wright the championship pennant of 1875 which was signed by Wright and National Association president (and HOFer) Morgan Bulkeley. A letter written by Spalding to Wright during the World Tour of 1874 was sold at REA in 2007. Roadshow appraiser Lee Dunbar (far right) appraised the Boston collection at $1 million but the value of the artifacts, including signatures of Harry Wright and A.G. Spalding (left), falls far short of that benchmark. Extending beyond Halper, the Schnabel investigation revealed that Lelands Auction house in New York City had purchased and resold stolen probate documents signed by Hall of Famers George Wright and James O'Rourke; Hunt Auctions had sold the stolen will of baseball pioneer Harry Wright; and dealer Jack Heir acted as Schnabel's fence selling many other wills to various dealers and private collectors. In particular, Halper owned hundreds of letters stolen from the NYPL's Spalding Collection that were written to baseball pioneer Harry Wright. Surprisingly, another item in the Halper collection at one point featured yet another autograph of Tommy McCarthy, an 1887 signed tintype portrait that was once owned by his manager Harry Wright and identified by its exact inscription in the 1921 NYPL Spalding Collection inventory. In 2009, a group of letters addressed to Harry Wright appeared in MLB's 2009 All-Star game auction and reports were published in the New York Times and the Boston Herald questioning whether the documents were stolen from the NYPL's Spalding Collection. The stolen wills still missing from Probate Court files feature the signatures of HOFers (l to r): Jackie Robinson, Harry Wright, Jimmy Collins and James "Orator" O'Rourke. Also still missing are the wills of other Hall of Famers stolen by Schnabel including Jackie Robinson, Jimmy Collins, Joe McCarthy, Jack Chesbro, Roger Connor, Johnny Evers, Harry Wright and a host of others. Merkin was also a prominent collector of baseball artifacts and memorabilia with a particular focus on Cuban baseball and the Negro Leagues and throughout his career Merkin created many paintings of baseball legends ranging from 19th and early 20th century baseball pioneers such as Harry Wright and Rube Foster.

Hauls of Shame - Breaking News

c. 1879 Portrait of Harry Wright that was stolen from the New York Public Library
In just a few weeks, Major League Baseball will host its annual FanFest extravaganza in conjunction with the 2010 All-Star Game to be played in Anaheim, California. Billed by MLB as an "interactive baseball theme park and the largest baseball fan event in the world," FanFest offers a host of unique attractions that will be showcased from July 9th to July 13th. The price of admission will grant visitors access to video batting cages, exhibits from the Baseball Hall of Fame, a "Steal Home Challenge," and even a live auction of vintage treasures of the game. Last years FanFest auction in St. Louis featured an offering of a "cache of 19th century letters" written to Harry Wright, the "Father of Professional Baseball," but the FBI stepped in and the auctioneer stopped the sale after it was confirmed that at least some of the letters were stolen from the New York Public Library's Harry Wright Correspondence Collection. Now it has been revealed by Haulsofshame.com that in 1998, MLB vendor, Hunt Auctions of Exton, PA, unknowingly and unintentionally sold off part of the stolen last will and testament of Harry Wright. This was the very document written in 1895 that stated Wright's last wishes that his baseball archive be left to the National League to establish "the beginning of a historical collection of…our grand national game of baseball. The will of Harry Wright was likely part of the Schnabel thefts, but it is unclear if Schnabel ever confessed to having stolen it. The codicil to Wright's will was sold by Hunt Auctions in February 1998. The conviction of Suffolk County court officer Joe Schnabel led to the recovery of many stolen wills but it appears that several documents from other courthouses, including that of Harry Wright, were never returned even though the story of the thefts made national news. The Philadelphia Register of Wills' Chief Deputy, Ralph Wynder, confirmed that the will of baseball pioneer Harry Wright is, indeed, missing from the courthouse probate records. When informed that the will of Wright, who was the Philadelphia Phillies' manager from 1885 to 1894, was worth upwards of $10,000, Wynder was stunned. Said the deputy, "Wow, I never even heard of Harry Wright until I looked to see if his will was in our files, who would have thought the will of an old Phillies manager could be worth so much?" But Wright was much more than just a Phillies manager. Having started his career as an all-star player with the New York Knickerbockers in the late 1850s, Wright went on to lead the Cincinnati and Boston Red Stockings to national championships in the late 1860s and 1870s as a player-manager. Wright was at the forefront of establishing professional baseball as big business and his work in the National Association's formative years aided the establishment of the National League in 1876. Of Wright's accomplishments historian John Thorn says, "Like any good idea, baseball has many fathers (bad ideas have none). Harry Wright may truly be said to be father of the professional game, and one of the five most important persons in the history of the game." Close up of Harry Wright's Instructions to Bequeath his Baseball Archive to the National League. But by February of 1998, Hunt Auctions had already sold what they advertised as the "very important 1895 codicil to Hall of Famer Harry Wright's last will and testament, signed twice by Wright. Harry Wright helped create the organization today known as Major League Baseball, and he also entrusted the organization to safeguard his historic baseball archive. Now, over a century after Wright dictated his final wishes, Major League Baseball has been unintentionally associated with the illegitimate sale of Wright's legacy. MLB's association with a company involved in the shady world of baseball collectibles is troubling for one of Wright's relatives. In a recent interview, Wright's great great granddaughter Pam Guzzi said, "I would think that MLB would be concerned that all of Harry Wright's documents remain where they were intended to be preserved. Harry Wright was a man concerned with fairness and integrity and certainly he would consider the theft and sale of his items a slap in the face." Based upon MLB's statement detailing the auction process and noting the fact that the offerings of Wright's will and his letters were separated by twelve years time, it is reasonable to view both Hunt Auctions and MLB as victims of circumstance. Hunt Auctions, by no fault of their own, simply accepted two consignments that ended up having checkered pasts and links to Harry Wright's donation of his archive. The real culprits in this improbable scenario are the thieves who originally pilfered Harry Wright's letters and will. Investigations conducted by Haulsofshame.com also confirm that many of the owners of stolen baseball items are good faith buyers and sellers who could also be considered victims of the original thefts. Although the theft of Harry Wright's will has been reported to the authorities, it appears that no formal investigation has yet been opened. Codicil to Harry Wright's 1895 Last Will and Testament, Sold by Hunt Auctions The FBI is currently investigating the thefts of the Harry Wright letters and hundreds of other items from the New York Public Library's A. G. Spalding Baseball Collection, and a source familiar with that probe has commented that, "there are so many stolen items out there its difficult to keep track." That source may be right. Over a month ago it was reported that another stolen, will-related, document signed by Harry Wright's brother, George (also a Hall-of-Famer), was being sold on the website of Quality Autographs of Virginia for $6,500. (Editors Note: The images of the portraits of Harry and George Wright featured in this article were preserved on contact sheets produced in conjunction with a SABR photo shoot at the New York Public Library in 1983. [...] and also added that, "No decision has been made regarding the (Harry Wright) telegram. Auction Sold The Stolen Will of The "Father of Pro Baseball" in 1998; Harry Wright Gifted His Le... [...]

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