Eight-page contract, dated April 28, 1948, between the New York Yankees, Inc., and the New York Cuban Baseball Club, Inc., signed in black ink (grading "9/10") by "Alex Pompez," owner of the Cubans, and in blue ink ("7") by "George M. Weiss," vice president of the Yankees. The one-year agreement grants the Cubans the right to use Yankee Stadium for their home games during the 1948 season at a rental rate of $1,000 per game plus a percentage of the gate receipts. The Cubans were the reigning champions of the Negro National League in 1948, but the Negro Leagues were already in a decline due to the integration of major league baseball, which began in 1947. Although both Pompez and Weiss are members of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Pompez's signature is far rarer and much more desirable, especially on an important baseball document such as this. Pompez, a Cuban American, was one of the most important figures in Negro League baseball. He founded the New York Cuban Stars in 1916 and owned the club for its entire 35-year existence, during which time the club imported most of the top Latin players in the game. After the Negro Leagues folded in 1950 the New York Giants hired Pompez as a scout, as they recognized his eye for talent, and more important, they realized his value with regard to recruiting Latin American players. Pompez was also almost single handily responsible for opening up the Dominican Republic market to major league baseball. Pompez died in 1984, but wasn't elected to the Hall of Fame until 2006. As a result, his signature is very rare today. This is only the third Alex Pompez signed item we have ever handled. The contract (8.5 x 13.5 inches) displays a few small, light areas of discoloration on each of the pages and is in Very Good condition overall. Full LOA from James Spence/JSA. Pre certified by Steve Grad and Brian Sobrero/Beckett Authentication. Pre certified by Steve Grad and Brian Sobrero/Beckett Authentication. Reserve $500. Estimate (open).
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