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1966 Orlando Cepeda Signed Puerto Rican League Contract
Starting Bid - $300, Sold For - $1,659
Four-page fold-over contract, dated November 19, 1966, between Orlando Cepeda and the Santurce Baseball Club of the Puerto Rico Professional Baseball League, signed in blue ink by "Orlando Cepeda" (grading "10"), Hiram Cuevas, president of the Santurce club, and the league president. The agreement calls for Cepeda to receive $1,000 per month, plus $300 per month for expenses, for the 1966-1967 winter season. Cepeda, who hailed from Puerto Rico, normally returned every off-season to play for Santurce in the Puerto Rican League. In an interview after his career ended, Cepeda described what it meant for both him and his friend Roberto Clemente to return to Puerto Rico and play ball: "We couldn’t wait to go back to Puerto Rico. In fact, every year we start in November, just before Thanksgiving. To play in Puerto Rico, for the Puerto Rican people to have the opportunity to see us play ball, makes us feel very, very good and proud to be a Puerto Rican!" Cepeda was one of the top sluggers of his era. In seventeen seasons, spanning the years 1958 through 1974, Cepeda totaled 374 home runs and 1,365 RBI while compiling a .297 lifetime average. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1999. 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 Cepeda contract we have ever offered and we can only recall seeing three other examples (all from the Puerto Rican League) at auction. The contract (8.5 x 11 inches) displays two notebook holes at the top border and is otherwise in Excellent to Mint condition overall. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $300. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $1,659
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