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Early Cuban Baseball Collection with Rafael Almeida Contract (5)
Starting Bid - $500, Sold For - $1,541
This collection of early Cuban baseball material is highlighted by a 1914 minor-league contract signed by Rafael Almeida, one of the first Cuban players in Major League history. (Both he and fellow countryman Armando Marsans made their major league debuts on July 4, 1911, with the Cincinnati Reds and the pair are sometimes recognized as being the first Cubans in major league baseball; however, most historians credit Esteban Bellan, who played with the Troy Haymakers of the National Association in 1871, with that honor.) 1) 1914 Rafael Almeida signed Montreal Royals contract. The two-page agreement, dated July 12, 1914, is a standard Class AA contract "Approved By The National Association of Professional Base Ball Leagues" between the Montreal Base Ball Club and "R. D. Almeida" of Havana, Cuba. It has been signed in black fountain pen (grading "9/10") by "Rafael Almeida" and, in what appears to be very faded blue fountain pen, by the team president (signature faded beyond legibility). The contract calls for Almeida to receive $400 per month and allows the club the option of retaining his services for the 1915 season under the same terms and conditions. A special covenant, handwritten in red ink along the left margin, reads "This contract is subject to all the conditions agreed upon with the Players' Fraternity at Cincinnati on Jan. 6th 1914." Almeida played with the Reds for parts of the 1911, 1912, and 1913 seasons. He also played with Montreal, a member of the International League, in 1913, 1914, and 1915. The contract (8.5 x 17 inches, unfolded) displays a few areas of light scattered toning (two of which touch upon the Almeida signature) and a few light edge tears along the fold lines. Vg-Ex. 2) Circa 1911 real-photo postcard picturing Rafael Almeida. The image pictures Almeida (standing in the center) and three unidentified gentleman posing together in street clothes. Produced by Rensler's Photography Studio, as noted on the reverse. The postcard has not been inscribed on the reverse, nor has it been mailed. However, the configuration of the "AZO" stamp box dates the card to the period 1904-1918. The fact that the card was produced by a Cincinnati photographer and that Almeida was only with Cincinnati from 1911 through 1913, helps to reasonably date it to that brief three-year span. 3.5 x 5.5 inches. Vg-Ex. 3) 1912 Cincinnati Reds picture postcard addressed to Rafael Almeida. This large-format fold-over postcard, issued by the Bismark Cafe Co., of Cincinnati, features both an illustration of Cincinnati's Redland Field and a colorized team photo of the 1912 Cincinnati Reds pictured, respectively, on opposite panels. The card, postmarked July 24, 1912, is addressed to "Mr. Rafael Almeida, Birmingham, Ala - c/o Birmingham Base Ball Club." The handwritten letter reads "Hello Almeida: I am sending you a picture of the 'Reds.' The Reds seem to be out of first division this year. Marsan [sic] has been playing fine ball. Best Luck - Brownie Burke." It is not know who Brownie Burke was, other than a friend of Almeida. Armando Marsans, who is mentioned in the letter, enjoyed a fine year with Cincinnati in 1912, finishing the season with a .317 average. Although Almeida batted .313 in thirty-six games with the Reds in 1911, he was late in reporting to the Reds at the start of the 1912 season and the club reassigned him to Birmingham, a Class A club in the Southern Association. For that reason, Almeida is not pictured in the team photo of the club pictured on the postcard. Almeida returned to Cincinnati late in the season and batted .220 in sixteen games with the club. The postcard (10.75 x 7 inches, unfolded) displays partial separation along all four fold lines, moderate toning, and a few edge tears. A small blue ink notation (illegible) appears on the panel below the address. Gd-Vg. 4) 1923 uniform transfer agreement for Raphael Quintana of Havana, Cuba. This one page document, titled "Uniform Agreement for the Assignment of a Player's Contract to or by a Major League Club," dated April 30, 1923, is between the "American League Base Ball Club of New York" (New York Yankees) and the "Capital District Baseball Association, Inc." (Albany Senators). The agreement spells out the terms of reassignment for the contract of Raphael Quintana from the Yankees to Albany. It has been signed in black fountain pen by Jacob Ruppert (secretarial signature, grading "10"), president and owner of the Yankees, and "Mr. J. Hawkins" ("10"), president of Albany. Quintana, whose professional career spanned the years 1923 through 1929, was a career minor-league player and never appeared in a game with the Yankees. Albany was a Class A member of the Eastern League in 1923. The agreement (8.25 x 13.75 inches displays normal fold lines, light toning, and a few small edge tears. Vg-Ex. 5) 1928 Exhibit Card of Adolfo Luque, "The Pride of Havana." Produced by the Exhibit Supply Company of Chicago. Postcard back, never mailed. Ex. From the Joe Pelaez Collection. Total: 5 items. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $500. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $1,541
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