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My Most Sentimental Autograph Was Purchased on eBay

Eddie Farrell was a ballplayer. He signed with the New York Giants in 1925 as an infielder. Two years later he received MVP votes following a breakout season in which he batted .316 and drove in 92 runs.

Eddie "Doc" Farrell autographed letter

This handwritten letter and autograph from Eddie “Doc” Farrell is the most prized item in my collection.

Eddie Farrell was a World Series champion. Eighty years ago the New York Yankees won it all. We call Gehrig and Ruth legends. He called them teammates.

Eddie Farrell was a dentist. With a degree from Penn in hand, “Doc”—as he was called throughout his playing days—hung up his cleats in 1935 to pursue a more lucrative career.

Eddie Farrell was my great-grandfather. He died in 1966, fifteen years before I was born. I know him only through the stories I hear at my grandmother’s house, and through the crumbs of information I pick up from the yellowed newspaper articles, faded photographs and dusty memorabilia I collect.

I don’t often pay for autographs because a signature alone means little to me. The memories of my in-person adventures are the most valuable items in my collection. Without them, it’s just ink and paper. The sentiment is lost in transaction.

There is always an exception.

By far, eBay has been the most effective tool in building my Eddie Farrell collection and I monitor the marketplace frequently. Every day you can find copies of his 1933 Goudey baseball card. I have dozens. Every day you can find copies of team photos in which he appeared. I have them all. But it’s rare that I’ll find something truly unique. Something that gives me any kind of insight into Grandpa Eddie. But then one day, there was a letter.

Handwritten in blue on paper toned with decades of age, it read:

2228 So. 10th St
Ironton, Ohio

Dear Larry:

Sorry not to have returned your cards sooner.

Have been out of town the past ten days due to sickness in the family.

Vic Aldridge and I write to one another once a year. (Xmas)

I hope you will be able to get the autographs of the old timers.

Sincerely,

Eddie

My great-grandfather’s personal reply to a TTM autograph request. In a second eBay listing there was a signed index card, one of the “cards” referenced in the note. I was the winning bidder on both lots. There was no other outcome possible.

It is the only Eddie Farrell autograph I have. It means more to me than anything else in my collection. And I purchased it on eBay.

Which autograph in your collection means the most to you and how did you obtain it?

About the author: is the founder of Autograph University. He lives in the Boston area with his wife and two sons. Connect with him on Twitter at @mattraymond.

21 comments… add one

  • Luke June 22, 2012, 1:05 pm

    Awesome post. I’m very jealous of this purchase!

  • Matt Raymond June 22, 2012, 1:26 pm

    I’ll bring it to Thanksgiving and let you hold it :)

  • Sooz June 23, 2012, 11:49 pm

    That was a really cool story. Glad you were able to get an autograph from him.

  • Mark J. Cardosi July 2, 2012, 10:28 pm

    Would love to share more Eddie Farrell and other Farrell family stories. Coincidentally, we (my Farrell family spouse and I) live in Portsmouth, Ohio which is just downriver from Ironton, Ohio. Please write.

  • Matt Raymond July 3, 2012, 1:54 am

    Hi Mark, thanks for the note! I will definitely be in touch, glad to make the connection.

  • Chris Trevino July 26, 2012, 1:28 pm

    This ones easy..This past christmas my Wife bought me 3 seats connected from the old Dallas Cowboys Texas Stadium..numbered 8,22,88! The #8 seat had a small index card size plaque with Troys stats and the seatback was signed..the #22 had the same,Plaque and Signature from Emmitt! The #88 had the plaque but no sig! Well this past May i went to Dallas for a signing and FINALLY got Irvin to sign his #’s seatback for me and when i got home to put it back on…i swear i fought back tears. As a HUGE Cowboys fan, i can say that is my Holy Grail! 2/3’s bought and the 3rd obtained in person.

  • Matt Raymond July 27, 2012, 8:18 pm

    Awesome! When I was a kid my dad brought me to a card show and I got Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin. Irvin could not have been nicer. Emmitt, on the other hand, completely ignored me when I greeted him.

  • Mike Sorenson August 9, 2012, 5:38 pm

    I love stories like this!!

  • Patricia Farrell September 5, 2012, 8:01 pm

    Who is the great grand son?? I was married to Doc Farrell’s son-Richard..I live a few street from the Family Home in Glen Ridge..

  • Matt Raymond September 5, 2012, 8:25 pm

    I am :)

    Thanks for the comment Patricia, glad to make the family connection. Look out for an email from me.

  • Brian Farrell September 27, 2012, 2:39 pm

    Hello I would like to talk to the purchaser.Eddie”doc” Farrell is my great great uncle and is my dads great uncle and my grandfathers uncle. All of my family are yankee fans and I know everything about him. My dad never met him cause he died in 66 and my dad was born in 69 but we know for sure he is in our family line. I wanted to say I haven’t found any written letters from him but I’m glad I found something.

  • Matt Raymond September 27, 2012, 3:34 pm

    Hi Brian, thanks for leaving a comment. I’ll shoot you an email.

  • Carol Feeney Russell October 1, 2012, 10:03 am

    Hi Matt,
    This was such a wonderful find! Poppy a.k.a. Eddie Farrell was my grandfather. My mom was his oldest daughter. I didn’t know him well, but my brother did. He was the oldest of Poppy’s grandchildren, has great stories. Please do tell me about your folks etc. would love to know about another realative!

  • rich myers October 7, 2012, 10:32 am

    I had dated his daugther Linda in college and spent some time with the Dr. , always a gentelmen, one time while waiting for Linda at his house in Glen Ridge, I made myself at home in His favorite chair…….. he never said anything, Linda informed me later of my faux pas…………………………R

  • Matt Raymond October 9, 2012, 9:53 pm

    Thanks for sharing the memory Rich :)

  • Joseph Farrell August 31, 2013, 9:42 am

    Hi Matt, Eddie is my great uncle, my grandfather Charles’ brother. Charles was also a dentist, as was my father, Charles, Jr. It is great to hear your story and to hear from another family member regarding Eddie. I have just a few pieces of uncle Eddie memorabilia, including the ’32 Yankees team photo and a couple autographed baseballs. It sounds like you have quite an impressive Eddie collection. I have been looking for an original baseball card of his. Are the 1933 Goudy cards you have originals? Also, i often wonder where his world series ring is, do you know? Have you seen it. Hope to hear from you!
    Joe

  • Matt Raymond September 5, 2013, 11:08 pm

    Hi Joe, thanks for the note and great to connect with you! I have dozens of his original 1933 Goudey – check eBay, there are always a handful up there. I’ll email you so we can catch up on the ring and family stuff.

  • John Farrell September 7, 2016, 3:25 pm

    … yet another Farrell with an Uncle Ed story. He was my dad’s uncle, my grandfather Dr. John H. Farrell’s brother… who also was Uncle Charley’s brother. That makes him my great uncle. I did meet him one summer at a family reunion which was held at “tween the lakes” in Chenango Valley State Park outside of Binghamton. I was a Little League pitcher at the time… maybe 10 years old … which would be around 1962. Of course, I wanted him to show me how to throw a curve ball, and I remember him taking my ball and showing me how to place my fingers on the threads. I guess I figured that every professional ballplayer must know how to throw a curve ball. I also remember going to an Old Timer’s Game at Yankee stadium and hearing his name call out over the loud speaker. I even came home with a little souvenir bat. Last story… my dad had an autographed ball in his sock drawer. One day, my brother Steve and I wanted to play catch and not having a ball, opted to use the one with the ink on it in dad’s drawer. We were throwing “grounders” to each other in the street when dad came home. Upset? You better believe it!! Surprised we’re still alive.

  • Ben July 27, 2017, 1:46 pm

    my favorite item is my Isiah Thomas (pistons) autograph. I saw him at my country club and got a picture then 3 days later I went to a 20 $ signing, there he autographed everything I had and wished me well in basketball. he also said he remembered me from the country club,

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