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1964 Frank Robinson Signed Cincinnati Reds Contract
Starting Bid - $400, Sold For - $6,518
Four-page fold-over contract, dated January 27, 1964 between Frank Robinson and the Cincinnati Reds Inc., signed in blue ink by "Frank Robinson" (grading "10"), Phil Seghi ("10"), the Reds' assistant general manager, and National League president Warren Giles ("9"). The one-year agreement calls for Robinson to receive an annual salary of $50,000. Incredibly, Robinson's salary in 1964 represented a pay cut for the star outfielder. Following the 1962 season, in which he batted .342 with 39 home runs and 136 RBI, the Reds made Robinson the highest-paid player in franchise history with a one-year deal reported to be over $60,000. However, in 1963 Robinson slumped badly, batting only .259 with 21 home runs and 91 RBI. As a result, the Reds significantly lowered their offer for the 1964 season which, as we see here, Robinson eventually accepted. Two years later Robinson captured the Triple Crown and MVP Award by virtue of his league-leading 49 home runs, 122 RBI, and .316 average. Robinson retired in 1976 with 528 home runs, 1,812 RBI, and a .294 average. He is also the only player to win the MVP Award in both leagues. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1982, his first year of eligibility. 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 only the second Frank Robinson contract of any kind we have ever offered (ironically, the other example, a Cuban League contract, appears in this auction as well) and the first Frank Robinson Major League contract we can ever recall hearing of or seeing at auction. The contract (8.5 x 11 inches) displays two horizontal folds and is in Near Mint condition overall. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $400. Estimate $1,000+. SOLD FOR $6,518
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