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Lot # 800 (of 1673)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1916 Urban Shocker New York Yankees Signed Rookie Contract

Starting Bid - $500.00 , Sold For - $11,750.00

Offered here is one of the most significant New York Yankees contracts in existence: a fully executed Official American League Player’s Contract, dated October 7, 1915, between pitcher Urban Shocker and the New York Yankees, signed by Shocker, team president Jacob Ruppert, American League President Ban Johnson, and Frank Shaughnessy as a witness. All of the signatures are penned in black fountain pen and grade “9” on average. The signature of Urban Shocker, who was a key member of the 1927 New York Yankees (not to mention one of the top pitchers of his era), is exceedingly rare due to his untimely death in 1928 at the age of thirty-eight. Shocker is without question one of the rarest 1927 Yankees signatures. Not including team balls, we would be surprised if more than a dozen Shocker signatures are known today. The offered signature is perhaps the finest example one could ever hope to obtain, given the fact that it appears on his Major League rookie contract with the New York Yankees. The Yankees purchased Shocker’s minor-league contract from Ottawa of the Canada League for $750 in 1915. The offered contract is the document that made him a New York Yankee for his rookie season of 1916. Shocker appeared in twelve games with the club that year, compiling a record of 4-3 with a 2.62 ERA. After spending a portion of the following season in the minors, Shocker was traded to the St. Louis Browns in 1918 in deal that was supposed to bring Eddie Plank to the Yankees. Plank, instead, retired and the trade turned out to be one of the worst in Yankees history. Shocker blossomed into one of the League’s best pitchers with St. Louis, winning twenty or more games each season from 1920 through 1923, including a League high twenty-seven wins in 1921. The Yankees, to their credit, realized the error of their ways and reacquired Shocker in 1925. Over the next three years Shocker won forty-nine games for the “Bronx Bombers,” including eighteen in 1927. In 1928 Shocker appeared in one game before retiring. Unfortunately, later that year he developed a bad case of pneumonia and eventually succumbed to the disease on September 9th. He was only thirty-eight years old. From 1920 through 1927, few pitchers could compare with Urban Shocker. Despite the fact that he effectively began his career in an era that witnessed the introduction of the "live" ball, Shocker led all Major League pitchers in total victories during the five-year span 1920-1924. He finished his career with an impressive record of 187-117, a .615 lifetime winning percentage, and an ERA of 3.17. The contract (8.5 x 14 inches, unfolded) is in Excellent to Mint condition. Ideally, it is accompanied by the official trade document that sent Shocker back to the Yankees in 1925. The “Uniform Agreement for the Assignment of a Player’s Contract to or by a Major League Club” is dated December 19, 1924, and records the trade of Urban Shocker from the St. Louis Browns to the New York Yankees in exchange for Leslie Bush, Milton Gaston, and $15,000. This additional document (8.5 x 14 inches) is signed by Jacob Ruppert, as president of the Yankees, and W. E. Friel, as president of the St. Louis Browns (Ruppert's signature on this document was actually done by general manager Ed Barrow, who often signed official documents on his behalf) . In Very Good to Excellent condition. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Total: 2 documents (1916 rookie player contract and transfer agreement). Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000+. SOLD FOR $11,750.00

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