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Lot # 1017 (of 1743)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1980-1984 Dennis Eckersley Boston Red Sox Contract

Starting Bid - $200, Sold For - $1,410

Six-page fold-over contract, dated April 6, 1979, between Dennis Eckersley and the Boston Red Sox, signed in blue ink by "Dennis L. Eckersley" (grading "10") and in black ink by "Haywood C. Sullivan" ("10"), general manager of the Red Sox. Also signed by Lee MacPhail in his capacity as American League president. A typed addendum, in which Eckersley agrees to have additional hotel charges (including the cost of a single room) on all road trips automatically deducted from his paycheck, appears on the last page and has been signed by both Eckersley and Sullivan (both grading "10"). This agreement is for five years; however, the salary is unknown. The contract states that the salary is "specified in addendum attached hereto and made a part of this contract" but the addendum is not included here and was probably separated from the contract long ago. Eckersley, who debuted in the Majors with the Cleveland Indians in 1975, was acquired by the Red Sox in a trade with the Indians on March 30, 1978. At that time his services were bound under a three-year contract he signed in 1977 which called for an annual salary of $152,333. In 1978, Eckersley, working under the second year of that agreement, enjoyed the greatest season of his young career by winning twenty games, against only eight losses, while posting a 2.99 ERA. That extraordinary season thus enabled Eckersley to negotiate the long-term deal represented by the offered contract. In his first twelve seasons, all as a starting pitcher, Eckersley won 151 games. Despite his accomplishments over that span, Eckersley is best remembered today for his role as one of the game's most dominating relief pitchers. Moving to the bullpen after joining Oakland in 1987, Eckersley established himself as one of the greatest closers in history by saving 390 games in his final twelve seasons, a mark that ranks fifth on the all-time list. In 1992 Eckersley entered rarified territory when he became the first pitcher ever to be named the Reliever of the Year while also winning the American League Cy Young and American League MVP Awards. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2004. Baseball contracts of Hall of Fame players, especially those dating from their respective playing careers, are rare and the offered example is no exception. This is the first Eckersley contract we have ever offered and we cannot recall having seen another at public auction. The contract (8.5 x 11 inches) displays a nearly three-quarter separation along one of the vertical folds (can be professionally repaired if so desired), as well as a few edge tears on the front page. In Very Good condition overall. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $200. Estimate $400+. SOLD FOR $1,410

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