1917-1919 Ray Schalk Chicago White Sox Contract ("Black Sox" Contract!)
Starting Bid - $1,000.00, Sold For - $11,257.50
Four-page fold-over contract, dated January 18, 1917, between Ray Schalk and the American League Base Ball Club of Chicago, signed in black fountain pen by both "Ray. W. Schalk" (grading "9") and "Charles A. Comiskey" ("9"), as president of the club. Also signed by American League president Ban Johnson. The three-year agreement for the 1917, 1918, and 1919 seasons calls for Schalk to receive a salary of $15,000 per year, for each of the three seasons, plus an additional one-time payment of $6,250 in consideration "of the option herein reserved to the club owner for the renewal of this contract." Multiyear contracts during this time period were the rare exception rather than the rule, and it shows just how highly Comiskey thought of Schalk that he would offer such an agreement. Adding to its significance is that this is, in actuality, Schalk's 1919 White Sox contract. It was during that season, of course, that eight member of the White Sox, including Joe Jackson, conspired to "throw" the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds. This contract also shows that the criticisms leveled at Comiskey by some of the other players that he favored Eddie Collins and Ray Schalk probably were legitimate. In 2012 Robert Edward Auctions sold Chick Gandil's 1919 White Sox contract, which showed that Gandil only earned $4,000 that season. While Schalk was a great player and one of the top catchers in the league, the difference in salary between the two (Gandil was a good first baseman, whose numbers were better than many other first basemen in the Majors) only serves to justify how mistreated many of the players on the White Sox felt at the time. It was from such inequities that the Black Sox scandal was born. Schalk was the field general of the White Sox at the time, noted for his defensive abilities and excellent arm. It was his ability behind the plate that eventually led to his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955. 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 Schalk contract we have ever offered and we cannot recall having ever seen another at public auction. The contract (8.5 x 14 inches) displays three horizontal folds and light toning. In Excellent condition overall. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $1,000. Estimate $3,000+.
SOLD FOR $11,257.50