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Lot # 878 (of 1866)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1928 Mickey Cochrane Signed Philadelphia Athletics Contract - MVP Season!

Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $15,405

Four-page fold-over contract, dated January 29, 1926 (but for the 1928 season) between Mickey Cochrane and the American Base Ball Club of Philadelphia, signed in black fountain pen by "Gordon S. Cochrane" (grading "8"), "John D. Shibe" ("9") as secretary, and a witness. Also signed on the front in black ink by "B. B. Johnson" ("7," minor bleeding) as American League President. The one-year agreement for the 1928 season calls for Cochrane to receive a salary of $10,000. This is one of the most unusual contracts we have ever seen because although it is for the 1928 season, it was signed by both parties, and approved by the commissioner's office in 1926. (It is a preprinted 1926 contract, but the preprinted year "1926" has been crossed out twice on the front and replaced by the handwritten year "1928.") Cochrane batted .331 during his 1925 rookie campaign, with that mark the highest for any starting catcher in the majors. When it came time to re-sign Cochrane for the 1926 season, it appears that A's owner/manager Connie Mack took a pragmatic approach. Cochrane was paid $4,500 in 1925. Obviously, the club realized it had something special in the young catcher, so they not only offered him a $3,500 raise for the 1926 season, but, as evidenced here, also took the unusual approach of locking him up for the next few seasons as well. (Research reveals that Cochrane received $8,000 in 1926, $9,000 in 1927, and of course, as this contract shows, $10,000 in 1928.) It was a calculated risk by Mack, who probably figured that by offering him a $3,500 raise in 1926, plus a guaranteed additional $1,000 raise for each of the next two seasons, he was probably saving money in the long run, especially if Cochrane's rookie season was any indication of how good a player he would become. Cochrane, too, who was only twenty-three years old in 1926, was probably ecstatic at receiving a guaranteed raise for the next two seasons. Mack's gamble ultimately paid dividends, as Cochrane's 1928 salary ended up being a bargain after he was voted the League's Most Valuable Player at season's end. Cochrane batted .293 with 10 home runs and 57 RBI in 1928, with his batting average once again tops in the American League for catchers. Cochrane, who retired in 1937, is regarded as the best-hitting catcher in major league history. In addition to batting over .300 in nine of this thirteen seasons, including a career-high .357 in 1930, Cochrane also finished his career with a .320 lifetime average, the top mark all time for his position. Other achievements include a second MVP Award in 1934 and three World Championships (two with the A's and one with the Tigers). He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1947. Contracts of Hall of Fame players are rare and the offered example is no exception. This is only the second Cochrane contract we have ever offered and we cannot recall having seen any other examples dating from his playing career, let alone one from his MVP season. Interestingly, the other example was Cochrane's 1926 contract (Lot 986 in REA's May 2011 auction; sold for $3,231), which was signed on the exact same date as the offered 1928 MVP year contract, adding a fascinating dimension of interest to Cochrane's most important and desirable player contract. The contract (8.5 x 11 inches) displays two horizontal folds, along the ends of which are a few tiny tears. In Excellent condition overall. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $15,405

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