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1970-1971 Roberto Clemente Signed Puerto Rican League Contract
Starting Bid - $1,500, Sold For - $6,000
Four-page fold-over contract, dated October 10, 1970, between Roberto Clemente and the Los Nuevos Senadores Inc., of the Liga de Baseball Profesinonal de Puerto Rico, signed in blue ink by both "Roberto Clemente" (small notebook hole touching upon a portion of his first name; otherwise grading "10"), the president of the club (twice),and a witness. The one-year agreement, for the 1970--1971 winter-league season, calls for Clemente to receive a salary of $1,000 per month, plus $300 per month for expenses. Clemente, who hailed from Puerto Rico, normally returned each winter to play for the Senadores of San Juan. He also managed the club for many years. Clemente was Puerto Rico's most revered athlete, admired not only for being one of the finest all-around players of his era, but one of baseball's great humanitarians. Unfortunately, Clemente died tragically in a plane crash in 1972 while flying relief supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. The following year he became the first Hispanic ballplayer elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame (the Hall waived its normal five-year waiting period in his honor; to date, only he and Lou Gehrig have been afforded that special tribute). Included among Clemente's impressive lifetime baseball achievements are a .317 average, 3,000 hits, and one MVP Award. 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 only the second Roberto Clemente contract we have offered in many years and the first Puerto Rican League example. We have only seen five Clemente major league contracts at auction in the last ten years (three major league contracts and two Puerto Rican League contracts). Though we do know that quite a few other Clemente major league examples, perhaps all years, exist (in the 1970s, collector and Pirates General Manager Joe L. Brown traded these contracts to collectors for rare press pins), they rarely surface and are widely recognized as among the most desirable of all Clemente items. Clemente is one of the "magic" names in baseball history, and it is a special privilege to offer one of his player contracts. The contract (8.25 x 11 inches) displays a light vertical fold and two notebook holes along the top border; otherwise it remains in Excellent to Mint condition. Full LOA from PSA/DNA and LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $1,500. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $6,000
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