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Lot # 740 (of 1512)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1947 Larry Doby Signed Puerto-Rican League Contract - Year He Broke the Color Barrier in the American League!

Starting Bid - $400, Sold For - $480

Four-page fold-over contract, dated February 17, 1947, between Larry Doby and the San Juan Base-Ball Club of the "Liga Profesional de Base-Ball de Puerto Rico." The fully executed contract is signed in black ink (grading "9") by "Larry Doby," the president of the club, the President of the league, and a witness. The one-year agreement, for the winter-league season of 1947-1948, calls for Doby to receive a salary of $75 per week. This is a very significant contract from the dawn of integration. Many stars of the Negro Leagues such as Larry Doby played year-round, and were willing to travel to wherever decent salaries for playing ball were available. The Puerto Rico baseball league was an extremely high caliber Major League which attracted many American Negro League players during the off-season. Just six months after signing this contract, Doby broke the color barrier in the American League, signing with the Cleveland Indians in August 1947. Although he endured much of the same racial pressures and problems encountered by Jackie Robinson, who made his debut with the Dodgers just eleven weeks earlier, he did so with far less media attention than Robinson. As he later recalled: "You didn't hear much about what I was going through because the media didn't want to repeat the same story. . . . I couldn't react to [prejudicial] situations from a physical standpoint. My reaction was to hit the ball as far as I could." Doby quickly made his presence felt in the American League and helped lead Cleveland to the 1948 World Championship. A seven-time All-Star selection, Doby finished his career with a .283 average, 253 home runs, and 970 RBI. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1998. 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 third Larry Doby contract we have ever offered, and we have only seen two others at auction over the past fifteen years. The contract (8.5 x 11 inches) displays two filing holes at the top and an area of light toning on the reverse. In Excellent condition overall. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $400. Estimate $1,000++. SOLD FOR $480

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