Historic 1945 Ed Barrow New York Yankees Contract - Signed by Barrow, MacPhail, and Weiss
Starting Bid - $500.00, Sold For - $829.50
Four-page executive employment contract, dated February 21, 1945, between Hall of Famer Ed Barrow and the American League Baseball Club (the New York Yankees), signed in black fountain pen (all grading "9") by "E. G. Barrow," "George M. Weiss" (as secretary), and "L. S. MacPhail" (as president). Player contracts of Hall of Famers are highly sought-after and very rare, but for an executive such as Ed Barrow, the equivalent is considerably rarer and virtually nonexistent. This agreement is an amendment to the five-year contract Barrow had previously signed with the Yankees in September 1944, when he was rehired has the club's business manager and general manager. However, that 1944 contract was drafted by the club's former owners, Jacob Ruppert's heirs. On January 25, 1945, the Yankees were sold to Larry MacPhail, Dan Topping, and Del Webb. Unfortunately for Barrow, Larry MacPhail was not one to cede control of his ball club to anyone, even the architect of baseball's most successful franchise. So, it was just one month later that this agreement was drawn up, relieving Barrow of all his official duties as business manager and general manager, and reducing his association with the team to that of simply a consultant.
The agreement calls for Barrow to retain his previous annual salary of $35,000 per year and also stipulates that if Barrow is elected chairman of the board of directors of the American League Baseball Club, he shall assume that position without any compensation. (Barrow did serve as chairman of the board for two years before retiring.) What ownership did with the drafting of this agreement, in the nicest way possible, was to fire Ed Barrow, a man who produced fourteen pennants and ten World Championships in his twenty-five seasons with the club. Barrow was seventy-seven years old at the time and probably offered little resistance to the change, as he knew that he MacPhail would have his way by one means or another. This agreement allowed Barrow to bow out gracefully and save both him and the Yankees the public embarrassment of explaining how the most successful and highly respected general manager in baseball at the time had just been fired. Ironically, all three signers of this contract were eventually elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Barrow was elected first, in 1953, six months prior to his death. Weiss was second in 1971, followed by MacPhail in 1978.
This is an extremely significant baseball document, as it ends one of the most storied baseball careers imaginable. Barrow wore many hats during his long career, including team owner (Paterson), Major League manager (Detroit and Boston), league president (Eastern League), and general manager (Yankees). Along the way he discovered Honus Wagner, changed Babe Ruth from pitcher to outfielder, won a World Championship as manager of Boston, and nearly single handily built the foundation upon which the Yankees dynasty currently stands. While we have countless contracts signed by Barrow, this is the first example we have ever seen where he is endorsing it as the "party of the second part," and not in his capacity as a representative of his respective club. The fact that it also features the signatures of three of the greatest baseball executives in history only adds to its importance and desirability. The four-page contract (8 x 13 inches), which is printed on onion-skin paper, has been notarized on the final page. Aside from normal horizontal folds and two notebook holes punched on each page along the left border, the contract is in Excellent condition overall. Stapled to its original paper folder bearing the name of the New York law firm Olvany, Eisner & Donnelly. Full LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $500. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $829.50