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Lot # 867 (of 1807)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1912 National Agreement for the Government of Professional Base Ball, Signed by Ban Johnson Thomas Lynch, and August Herrmann

Starting Bid - $1,000.00, Sold For - $9,480.00

In 1903 the National League and American League made "peace" with each other by adopting a National Agreement for the Government of Professional Base Ball. The written contract, which was also entered into by the National Association (the body governing minor-league baseball), was formally adopted and signed on September 11, 1903. Central to the contract was the establishment of a three-member National Commission, which was given the power to construe and carry out the terms and provisions of the National Agreement. The National Commission was to be made up of the current National and American League presidents, and by a third person, mutually agreed upon by both league presidents, who would act as chairman. Cincinnati Reds owner August Herrmann was selected as chairman of the Commission in 1903 and he held that post until the National Commission was replaced as baseball's ruling body by the office of the Baseball Commissioner in 1921. Offered here is the 1912 revised copy of the National Agreement for the Government of Professional Base Ball that has been formally ratified and signed by all concerned parties on the last page: Thomas Lynch (president of the National League), Ban Johnson (president of the American League), Michael Sexton (president of the National Association), August Herrmann (chairman of the National Commission), and John Bruce (secretary of the National Commission). All of the signatures have been penned in black fountain pen and grade "10." The last page, which is officially titled the "Certificate of Approval," bears a gold seal and the official stamp of the National Commission. The nine-page agreement, which is bound in red, leather-covered boards (titled "The National Agreement for the Government of Professional Base Ball" in gilt lettering), notes all of the current changes made to the 1903 agreement in the left-hand margins. These are the very rules that governed organized baseball at the time and the many articles deal with issues such as scheduling, the reserve clause, the sale and release of players, resolution of team and league disputes, and player contracts. As noted at the beginning of the agreement, the principle objective of the National Agreement is the "Perpetuation of base ball as the national pastime of America, by surrounding it with such safeguards as will warrant absolute public confidence in its integrity and methods, and by maintaining a high standard of skill and sportsmanship in its players." It is not known if the National Agreement was amended annually or not, but this is the first official copy of the National Agreement we have ever seen, let alone one that is fully ratified by all parties, making this both a rare and supremely important Major League baseball document. The bound agreement (10 x 14 inches) displays wear along the exterior, including tears to the leather covering and a major horizontal crease along the base that affects each of the interior pages. A vintage white label, with the year, "1912," written upon it, is affixed to the front cover. Other than the crease, the pages display only light toning along the edges and remain in Excellent condition overall. This extraordinary document once resided in the legendary Halper Collection. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open).
SOLD FOR $9,480.00

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