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1934 Pie Traynor Pittsburgh Pirates Contract
Starting Bid - $500, Sold For - $4,406
Four-page fold-over contract, dated June 25, 1934, between Harold “Pie” Traynor and the Pittsburgh Athletic Company (operating The Pittsburgh Baseball Club), signed in black fountain pen by “Harold J. Traynor” (“10”) and “Wm E. Benswanger” (“10”), president of the club. John Heydler has also signed the contract (“10”) in his capacity as National League president. The one-year agreement, for 1934, calls for Traynor to receive a salary of $14,000 (amount handwritten in black fountain pen). The dating of this contract is significant. Traynor opened the 1934 season in the same role he held the previous twelve seasons, as the club’s starting third baseman. He did so with an annual salary of $11,500. However, after fifty-one games, on June 17th, Pittsburgh fired manager George Gibson and replaced him with Pie Traynor. This contract, signed eight days later, obviously reflects Traynor’s newly negotiated compensation for taking on the dual role of player/manager. Unfortunately, Traynor’s playing career was coming to an end in 1934, and an arm injury he suffered that year hastened his retirement. Traynor only played in sixty-two games over the next two years before officially hanging up his glove at the close of the 1937 season. Traynor batted .309 with 1 home run in sixty-one games in 1934, his last full season in baseball. Pie Traynor is universally recognized as the finest fielding third baseman of his era. His legendary reputation in the field, however, sometimes overshadows his extraordinary batting record. Traynor batted over .300 on ten separate occasions, including a career high .366 in 1930, and retired with a .320 lifetime average. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1948. 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 first Traynor contract we have ever offered and one of just four that we have seen. The contract (8.5 x 11 inches) displays two horizontal folds and is in Excellent to Mint condition. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000++. SOLD FOR $4,406
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