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1933 Al Lopez Brooklyn Dodgers Contract
Starting Bid - $200, Sold For - $3,231
Four-page fold-over contract, dated March 9, 1933, between Al Lopez and the Brooklyn National League Baseball Club, Inc., signed in black ink by both "Alfonso Lopez" (grading "9") and "S. W. McKeever" ("9"), president of the club. The stamped facsimile signature of National League president John Heydler also appears on the document. The one-year agreement for the 1933 season calls for Lopez to receive a salary of $8,250. Al Lopez made his Major League debut with Brooklyn in 1928, but it wasn't until 1930 that he joined the club as its starting catcher. Known more for his defensive skills and his handling of pitchers than his bat, Lopez played for seven years with Brooklyn and appeared in the 1934 All-Star Game. He later played with both the Boston Bees and Pittsburgh Pirates before spending his final season with Cleveland in 1947. At the time of his retirement he was the career record-holder for games caught with 1,918, including a record 1,861 in the National League (both of those records stood for over forty years). Although he enjoyed a fine playing career, he is best remembered today for his managerial skills. In his first nine seasons as manager in the Majors, first with Cleveland and then with the Chicago White Sox, Lopez never finished worst than second, winning pennants in both 1954 and 1959 (Lopez was the only manager to finish in first place ahead of the Yankees between the years 1949 and 1963). He finished his managerial career with 2,425 wins, and his .584 winning percentage ranks eighth best all time. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1977. 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 Lopez contract we have ever offered and we cannot recall having seen another. The contract (8.5 x 11 inches) displays two horizontal folds and is in Excellent condition overall. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $200. Estimate $400+. SOLD FOR $3,231
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