Here’s a unique and special piece of Philadelphia Eagles and NFL history, in the form of a recruiting letter sent on original team letterhead. It was written during 1933, the team’s first year in the league and the first year of the NFL in Philly since the Frankford Yellow Jackets had shuttered two years previous.
According to the auction source for this letter, it was written on December 4, 1933 by Eagles rookie end Dick Fencl to college recruit Zud Schammel of Iowa. The description hints that this letter was sent at the behest of team owner Bert Bell, which seems reasonable. Schammel, who was heavily recruited by other teams as well, only played one season in the NFL (1937) and that was with the Green Bay Packers.
First let’s check out the envelope, postmarked December 4, 1933 and addressed to Schammel care of the Phi Delta Theta House on the University of Iowa campus. Just 3 cents for a stamp!
Notice the original team address of 409 Flanders Building in Philadelphia, which would change within a season. Now get ready for the beauty part — the letter itself.
My friends, let’s just sit for a moment and soak in the beauty of that vintage Eagles letterhead complete with great illustration and original team colors of blue and yellow. Note also that in addition to Bert Bell’s name up top we also see listings for GM/head coach/co-founder Lud Wray and business manager Jack Potter.
As best as I can make out, here is the text of the letter:
You probably remember me, my name is Dick Fencl @ Phi Delta from Northwestern. I joined the team 5 weeks ago and have enjoyed it very much, especially financially. I have played opposite you + know you could be of great value to us next year when we hope to build up a championship team. At present we lack just a few men of being champions. In our last five games we have beaten [the Cincinnati Reds] 6-0 and 26-6, Pittsburg 25-0, tied Chicago Bears 3-3 + lost to Green Bay yesterday 10-0. We play New York this coming Sunday.
I told Lud Wray, our Coach, of you so if you are interested write him immediately and discuss this matter. He will be expecting to hear from you. Financially this club is probably the best to play for. They pay us a half hour after every game. Hope you consider.
As an historical aside, Fencl saw extremely limited action in 1933 for Philadelphia. He played in five games, started just one, and caught a grand total of one pass for 20 yards during his one-year NFL career.
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