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Lot # 1023 (of 1336)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1940 and 1947 to 1952 Cleveland Indians Financial Ledgers

Starting Bid - $500, Sold For - $1,680

This remarkable collection is comprised of the complete yearly financial records for the Cleveland Indians for the years 1940, and 1947 through 1952, with each season recorded in its own massive ledger book. We have never seen anything comparable to these ledgers, for they document to the penny each of the club's expenditures per month, including those related to player salaries, tickets, uniforms and equipment, front-office salaries, park decorations, claims against the ball club, federal and state taxes, bus and baggage, hotels, rail travel, minor-league expenses, and insurance. As such, these ledgers provide a treasure trove of information for baseball historians - information, we might add, that is simply not available anywhere else, or for most (if not all) other teams from this era. This is a fascinating and unique archive that has great historical significance that would be a valuable addition to any museum-caliber research collection.

Obviously, among the most interesting financial data recorded here are the player salaries for each season. The 1948 season marked Satchel Paige's first season in the major leagues and it is surprising to see that even at his advanced age, he was the fourth-highest-paid player on the team that year, trailing only Feller, Gordon, and Boudreau. Equally surprising was the fact that Larry Doby, the first African-American player in American League history, and a bona fide star, was one of the lowest-paid players on the roster. Doby's gross pay per month was $574.84, compared to $3,832.32 for Feller, $2,696.93 for Paige, $3,353.30 for Boudreau (player/manager), and $2,395.21 for Gordon. Even Hall of Famer Tris Speaker was being paid $416.66 for his services as a coach. The 1940 and 1948 ledgers are bound and feature heavy cloth boards; the remaining ledger pages for each season are unbound. The 1940 ledger pages measure 10.5 x 8 inches. All of the remaining ledger pages are much larger, measuring approximately 17 x 14 inches. Entries are recorded both in type and by hand. Each ledger numbers approximately 200 pages. All of the pages display moderate handling wear and are in Excellent condition overall. Total: seven separate ledgers.   Reserve $500. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $1,680

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