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1953 Larry Doby Cleveland Indians Contract
Starting Bid - $300.00, Sold For - $3,258.75
Four-page fold-over contract, dated March 11, 1953, between Larry Doby and The Cleveland Baseball Company, signed in blue ink by "Lawrence Doby" (grading "10") and in black ink by "Hank Greenberg" ("10"), general manager of the team. The signature of American League president William Harridge is ink stamped. The one-year contract, for the 1953 season, calls for Doby to receive a salary of $28,000. Doby batted .263 with 29 home runs and 102 RBI in 1953. Larry Doby broke the color barrier in the American League, signing with Cleveland Indians in August 1947. Although he endured much of the same racial pressures and problems encountered by Jackie Robinson, who made his debut with the Dodgers just eleven weeks earlier, he did so with far less media attention than Robinson. As he later recalled: "You didn't hear much about what I was going through because the media didn't want to repeat the same story. . . . I couldn't react to [prejudicial] situations from a physical standpoint. My reaction was to hit the ball as far as I could." Doby quickly made his presence felt in the American League and helped lead Cleveland to the 1948 World Championship. A seven-time All-Star selection, Doby finished his career with a .283 average, 253 home runs, and 970 RBI. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1998. 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 Larry Doby Major League contract we have offered and we can cannot recall having ever seen another at public auction. The contract (8.5 x 11 inches) displays two horizontal folds and two notebook holes along the left border; otherwise in Near Mint condition. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $300. Estimate $1,000+. SOLD FOR $3,258.75
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