Four-page fold-over contract, dated March 3, 1956, between Harold "Pee Wee" Reese and the Brooklyn National League Baseball Club, Inc., signed in black ink by "Harold Henry Reese" (grading "10") and “E. J. Bavasi” (“10”), vice president of the club. The one-year agreement, for the 1956 season, calls for Reese to receive a salary of $36,000. Reese batted .257 with 9 home runs, 46 RBI in 1956, leading the Dodgers to their second consecutive and final pennant while in Brooklyn. Reese was one of the top players for the Dodgers during the 1940s and 1950s, but even more important than his play on the field was his leadership in the Brooklyn clubhouse during the 1947 season, when Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s long-standing color barrier. At Reese's funeral, Joe Black, another major league baseball black pioneer, perhaps best captured the enormous significance of Reese's role in Robinson's most turbulent early days of breaking the color barrier in the majors in 1947 when he said, "Pee Wee helped make my boyhood dream come true to play in the majors, the World Series. When Pee Wee reached out to Jackie, all of us in the Negro League smiled and said it was the first time that a white guy had accepted us. When I finally got up to Brooklyn, I went to Pee Wee and said, 'Black people love you. When you touched Jackie, you touched all of us.' With Pee Wee, it was No. 1 on his uniform and No. 1 in our hearts." One of the top defensive shortstops of his era, Reese retired in 1958 with a .269 lifetime average and 2,170 hits. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1984. The contract (8.5 x 11 inches) remains in Excellent to Mint condition. Auction LOA from James Spence/JSA. Pre certified by Steve Grad and Brian Sobrero/Beckett Authentication. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open).
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