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1939 Ray Brown Signed Puerto Rican League Player's Contract- Newly Elected Member to the Hall of Fame
Starting Bid - $2,000.00, Sold For - $12,760.00
Four-page Puerto Rican League player's contract for the 1939 season for Ray Brown, signed by famed Negro League pitcher Ray Brown, one of the newly elected members to the Baseball Hall of Fame. The contract, dated September 28, 1939 and printed entirely in Spanish, is between the San Juan Baseball Club and Brown. The contract calls for Brown to receive a salary of $50 per week during the season. It has been signed in black ink "Raymond Brown" ("9/10"), as well as by the president of the San Juan Baseball Club. While of course it goes without saying that a player contract is an ideal item to have signed by Brown, the extraordinary rarity of Ray Brown's signature alone would make any item signed by him extremely desirable. To the best of our knowledge, fewer than ten Ray Brown signatures on any type of item are currently known to exist. Brown was one of the top pitchers in the Negro Leagues at the time of this contract. Like many of the Negro League stars, Brown earned extra money during the winter by playing for teams in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. In the States, Brown was one of the pitching mainstays of the legendary Homestead Grays, one of the most powerful Negro League teams of the era. In addition to being the son-in-law of team owner Cum Posey, he was the team's one-man army on the mound. Brown joined the Grays in 1932 and remained with them for fourteen consecutive years. During that time he helped lead the club to eight pennants in nine seasons (1937-1945). Equipped with a dazzling array of pitches, including a devastating curve ball, Brown once reeled off sixteen consecutive victories in 1943-1944. He also pitched a perfect game against the Chicago American Giants in 1945. Today, Brown is credited with a lifetime winning percentage of .704, the second-best mark in Negro League history. He also ranks fifth in wins (105) and ninth in shutouts (13). Brown passed away in 1965 at the age of fifty-seven. He was one of the seventeen Negro Leaguers elected to the Hall of Fame this year, finally achieving the baseball recognition he richly deserves as one of the game's true immortals. Brown's autograph in any form is almost nonexistent. Of the few Ray Brown signatures known, four are on Puerto Rican League contracts which surfaced years ago from a single source. This contract is one of the four. The contract (8.25 x 11 inches, unfolded) displays two horizontal folds, four notebook filing holes along the top border, and a few light creases, otherwise in Excellent condition overall. The official League stamp appears on the front. LOAs from James Spence/JSA and Steve Grad, Mike Gutierrez & Zach Rullo/PSA DNA. Reserve $2,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $12,760.00
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