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Lot # 998 (of 1743)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1930 Dizzy Dean Class A Minor-League Contract - Earliest Known Dean Contract!

Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $2,644

Four-page fold-over contract, dated August 2, 1930, between Dizzy Dean and the Houston Baseball Association of the Texas League, signed in black fountain pen by both "J. H. Dean" (grading "9/10") and "Fred N. Ankenman" ("9"), Houston team president. The one-year agreement calls for Dean to be paid $350 per month for his services to the club. Dizzy Dean began his professional career in 1930 with St. Joseph in the Western League, appearing in thirty-two games with the club before joining Houston in early August. Dean was twenty years old when he signed this contract and over the next two months he recorded eight wins, against just two losses, in fourteen games for Houston. Even more impressive than his 2.86 ERA was the fact that he struck out ninety-five batters in eighty-five innings while allowing just sixty-five hits. His exploits resulted in the Cardinals calling Dean up in late September so they could take a look at their prized prospect. Dean didn't disappoint. In front of the home crowd, Dean allowed three hits and one run, while striking out five and walking three, in a complete-game 3-1 victory over the Pirates. Despite his auspicious debut, the Cardinals decided he needed another year of seasoning with Houston (he led the league with 26 wins) and it wasn't until 1932 that Dean returned to the Cardinals, this time for good. Dizzy Dean was one of the game's most popular and irrepressible characters, and the central figure of St. Louis' legendary "Gas House Gang" of the 1930s. Turning to the radio booth after his playing days, he delighted thousands of listeners with his homespun humor and unique take on the English language. Dizzy Dean earned his place in baseball history and the Hall of Fame on the diamond, but also made a lasting and powerful impression on popular American culture with his personality. Armed with the wisdom of Will Rogers, the communication skills of Yogi Berra, and possessed by the rowdy spirit of the Gas House Gang, Dizzy Dean is one of baseball's few larger-than-life personalities whose popularity and legend transcends the game. The 1930s were his decade and this contract started it all. Baseball contracts of Hall of Fame players, especially those dating from their respective playing careers, are extremely rare and the offered example is no exception. To the best of our knowledge this is the earliest Dizzy Dean contract in existence (only his St. Joseph contract could possibly precede it) and it is the only Dizzy Dean contract we have ever seen. This is an extraordinarily significant item, one of the most important that could possibly exist, relating to the earliest days in professional baseball of one of the game's greatest legends. (This would be similar, for Babe Ruth, to having Ruth's 1914 Providence Grays contract.) The contract (8.5 x 11 inches) displays two horizontal folds, minor separations along the fold lines, and one small clear tape repair along the right edge of the front page. In Very Good condition overall. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $1,000. Estimate $2,500+. SOLD FOR $2,644

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