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Buck Leonard's 1946 Homestead Grays Negro National League Contract
Starting Bid - $1,000.00, Sold For - $8,050.00
1946 Homestead Grays contract for Walter F. "Buck" Leonard. Official Negro National League player contracts are virtually non-existent. An example such as this, from a major Negro League star and Hall of Famer, signing with the Homestead Grays, the Negro League's most dominating dynasty, is an incredible prize. This is a treasure as a significant Negro League document, as an item relating to the Homestead Grays dating from their unprecedented nine straight Championship seasons, as a Negro League Hall of Famer player contract, and as an extraordinary item relating to the career of Buck Leonard, one of the greatest Negro League stars to ever take the field. Often referred to as the "Black Lou Gehrig" (which complimented teammate Josh Gibson's nickname as the "Black Babe Ruth"), Leonard played 17 years with the Grays. Leonard is credited with a lifetime Negro National League average of .341 and an average of .382 in exhibition games vs. major leaguers. He was also an incomparable fielder, a team player, and is recognized as being the best first baseman in the history of the Negro Leagues. Leonard was elected to the Hall of Fame, along with Homestead Grays teammate Josh Gibson, in 1972. The contract calls for Leonard to play from May 1 to Oct 1, 1946, at the salary of $900 per month plus "room and lodging." The contract is signed by "Walter Leonard" ("10"), Homestead Grays President Rufus Jackson, and club secretary Pocohantas Crews as witness. The contact has a traditional 4-page, fold-out design. Very good condition due to some very minor tearing along the natural fold lines as is common with player contracts. One of the most significant Buck Leonard items from the Jeff Eastland collection, and the first Hall of Famer Negro League contract that we have ever seen. From the estate of Buck Leonard. LOAs from Mike Gutierrez/GAI and James Spence & Steve Grad/PSA DNA. Reserve $1,000. Estimate $2,500/$5,000. SOLD FOR $8,050.00
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