2021 Goldin Elite Closing Jan 30 &31
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 1/30/2021

This extraordinary hand-written letter sows another side of Hall of Famer Ted Williams – that of his service as a jet pilot during the Korean War. Ted had served as a Marine Corps pilot during World War II, where his legendary eyesight had made him a valued gunnery instructor. Though he saw no combat, his service took three prime seasons away from Williams, and he spent the next several seasons making up for lost time. Then came the Korean War. As a trained pilot, Williams was recalled to the Marines, and this time he was posted to a combat squadron. The most famous ballplayer in America was teamed with another man who would in time be as recognizable as Williams: John Glenn, the first man to walk on the moon. The two men were frequent wing men, sharing the horrors and exhilaration of jet combat. As Glenn later recalled, “Ted got hit on one of his first missions. He was streaming smoke and fire from around the engine, which in a Panther (the type of jet he was flying) usually signaled an explosion that would blow the tail off.” Instead of bailing out, Ted brought the plane in for a more dangerous belly-landing. After bellying-in at 150 miles an hour, Ted narrowly escaped the cockpit before his plane burned to the ground.

Williams would fly 39 combat missions before he was rotated home in the summer of 1953. As the envelope’s cancellation shows, this hand-written letter was penned by Captain Williams on or before March 1, 1953. The letter is addressed to “Johnny Lutz” of San Diego.  Jimmy Lutz lived on the same street in San Diego where Williams grew up, and it was the Lutz family who watched over young Ted during his difficult childhood. It was Johnny who taught Ted how to fish and hunt, two of the topics covered in this wartime letter. The letter is written in blue pen on a 7 ¼ x 10 ½-inch sheet of cream colored writing paper. The letter begins with Ted talking about a fishing rod he sent to his friend, then quickly turns to his presence in Korea. Ted talks about living three. To a tent and sleeping on a bed with tire innertubes for springs. Captain Williams goes on to talk about duck hunting in the area and how the cook prepared them for dinner which “almost made ya feel like stateside.” The slugger goes on to talk about the cold weather and how his “bad ears “ have kept him grounded: “flying with a cold and they plug up.” Williams ends the letter with a proposed fishing trip to “old Mex” and signs it, “love to all, Ted.” The letter shows overall toning and folds from mailing, but otherwise in very good condition. The blue ink is very strong on the cream stationery. This wartime letter is accompanied by the original 4 x 7 ½-inch Air Mail envelope also addressed by the Hall of Famer turned fighter pilot.

Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $1,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $2,583.00
Number Bids: 11
Auction closed on Monday, February 1, 2021.
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