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1941 Ray Dandridge Puerto Rican League Contract
Starting Bid - $300.00, Sold For - $2,014.50
Four-page fold-over contract, dated December 12, 1941, between Ray Dandridge and the Santurce Base-Ball Club of the Puerto Rico Semi-Pro Baseball League. Signed in black fountain pen ("10") by "Raymond Dandridge" and by 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 1941/1942, calls for Dandridge to receive a salary of $70 per week. Dandridge, 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. Dandridge was twenty-eight years old at the time of this contract, and in the prime of his career. By nearly all accounts, Dandridge was the greatest third baseman in Negro League history, and also an outstanding hitter. Because of economic considerations, Dandridge played in Latin America (mainly Mexico) for long stretches during the 1940s. When he returned in 1949 the New York Giants signed him to a contract but curiously never promoted him, even though he batted .363, .311, and .324 during his first three minor-league seasons. He eventually retired before getting his chance to play in the Major Leagues, a regret which bothered him for the remainder of his life. Finally, in 1987, the sting of having been shunned by the Giants was eased by his election to the Hall of Fame. 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 first Dandridge contract we have ever offered and just the third example we can recall having seen at public auction (the other two were also Puerto Rican Winter League contracts from the early 1950s). The contract (8.5 x 11 inches) displays a slight vertical fold and two sets of overlapping notebook holes, as well as minor discoloration, 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 $2,014.50
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