Bill Dickey was just 70 days past his 21st birthday when he made his big league debut in 1928. That season Dickey became a major leaguer on August 15. Though he played in just 10 games that year, Dickey broke out as a star the following season.
In his first full year of 1929, Dickey hit .324. That began a string of six straight seasons above the .300 mark. Dickey hit ..320 over his first 11 full seasons, topping the mark in ten of those years. Dickey drove in 100 or more runs in each of the last four years of the 1930s and hit .313 in his 17-year big league career.
An outstanding defensive player, Dickey finished in the top three in fielding percentage eight times, leading the AL four times. The Hall of Fame catcher led AL catchers in caught-stealing percentage three times and finished second in three seasons.
The Yankee backstop played in ten of the first eleven All Star games and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1954.
In the collection is this letter signed by American League President William Harridge. The AL chief writes to fellow Hall of Fame executive Ed Barrow regarding the contract status of nine Yankee players. Among the nine is Bill Dickey.
Dated August 16, 1928, the day after Dickey’s debut, the letter lists the Yankees’ nine optional players. Next to Dickey’s name is a handwritten notation of his callup on August 6. This is a result of the file copy shown in the next image.
Nearly a century old, this correspondence between two members of the Hall of Fame traces to the start of Dickey’s career.
No one in the USA was old enough to drink in 1928.