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1928-1929 Earle Combs New York Yankees Contract
Starting Bid - $500, Sold For - $2,644
Four-page fold-over contract, dated February 25, 1928, between Earle Combs and the American League Base Ball Club of New York, signed in black fountain pen by both "Earle B. Combs" (grading "10") and Jacob Ruppert ("9"), team owner. The fully executed contract, which features the club's stamped seal, has been duly witnessed and is also signed in black fountain pen (grading "9/10") by E. S. Barnard in his capacity as American League President. Earle Combs enjoyed the finest season of his career in 1927 as a member of the Yankees fabled "Murderers' Row." "The Kentucky Colonel" batted a career-high .356, with league-leading totals in hits (231) and triples (23) in helping the Yankees capture their first of two consecutive World Championships. Needless to say, Combs' impressive offensive numbers allowed him much more leeway during contract negotiations that winter as evidenced by this contract. This was originally typed up as a one-year contract with a salary of $11,500. However, Combs' 1927 numbers provided him enough leverage to negotiate a two-year deal and a raise. Handwritten additions on the contract note the new two-year term and the salary increase to $27,000 total for the two seasons. (Jacob Ruppert's initials appear next to the crossed out salary figure as authorization for the change.) Combs rewarded the club for its largess by posting averages of .310 and .345, respectively, over the next two seasons. One of the most popular of all Yankee players during the 1920s and 1930s, Combs spent his entire twelve-year career in pinstripes and then continued his association with the club as a coach for another nine seasons. He retired in 1935 with a .325 lifetime average and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1970. Baseball contracts of Hall of Fame players, especially those dating from their respective playing careers (let alone from the 1920s), are rare and the offered example is no exception. This is the first Combs player contract we have ever offered and we cannot recall having seen another at public auction. 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/$1,500. SOLD FOR $2,644
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