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1940 Monte Irvin Puerto Rican League Contract
Starting Bid - $300.00, Sold For - $1,185.00
Four-page fold-over contract, dated October 10, 1940, between Monte Irvin and the San Juan Base-Ball Club of the Puerto Rico Semi-Pro Baseball League. Signed in blue fountain pen ("10") by "Monty Irvin" and the president of the club. The contract has also been signed by two witnesses and the league president, adjacent to which appears the official league stamp. The one-year agreement, for the winter-league season of 1940/1941, calls for Irvin to receive a salary of $30 per week, plus traveling and hotel expenses, as well as a bonus if the team reaches the playoffs. Irvin, like many Negro League players from that era, earned extra money during the winter by playing for teams in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. The Puerto Rico Semi-Pro Baseball League was founded in 1938 and was very successful in acquiring the services of many of the top Negro League players at the time, including Josh Gibson and Satchel Paige. Irvin was just twenty-one years old at the time of this contract, but he was already regarded as one of the best hitters in the Negro League, where he starred in the outfield for Abe and Effa Manley's Newark Eagles. Irvin batted .422 for the Eagles in 1940, which obviously made him a key acquisition for San Juan that winter. Although segregation robbed Irvin of his prime years in Major League baseball, he eventually made his debut with the Giants in 1949, two years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. After eight successful seasons (seven with the Giants and one with the Cubs) Irvin finally retired from the game, finishing his Major League career with a .293 average, 99 home runs, and 443 RBI. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1973. Baseball contracts of Hall of Fame players, especially those dating from their respective playing careers (let alone those of the greatest Negro League stars), are rare and the offered example is no exception. This is the only the second Irvin contract we have ever offered. The contract (8.5 x 11 inches) displays a slight vertical fold and two sets of overlapping notebook holes along the top border (affecting each of the pages). In Very Good condition overall. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $300. Estimate $500/$1,000+. SOLD FOR $1,185.00
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