1976-1979 New York Yankees "Bronx Zoo" Contract and Document Collection - Martin, Jackson, and Piniella

Sold For: $4,113

Auction Year: 2010 spring

Lot: 1104

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Remarkable collection of Yankees documents dating from the years of the "Bronx Zoo." Read this description carefully: These documents have great historical significance! The three-year span 1976-1978 was one of the most successful, yet tumultuous periods in New York Yankees history. While wins and World Championships became the norm on the field during that time, fights, both physical and verbal, reigned in the clubhouse. At the center of the maelstrom was manager Billy Martin, who waged a never-ending war both with owner George Steinbrenner and high-priced outfielder Reggie Jackson. This collection of New York Yankees contracts and documents dates from that highly volatile period in franchise history and is highlighted by a number of official agreements signed by Billy Martin that specifically address his behavior. Also included here are a document signed by Reggie Jackson and a Lou Piniella contract. 1) 1977-1979 Billy Martin New York Yankees Manager's Contract. The standard "Uniform Manager's Contract, " dated September 10, 1976, is for three years and calls for Martin to receive an annual salary of $72,000 in 1977, $80,000 in 1978, and $90,000 in 1979. It is signed by "Alfred M. Billy Martin" in black felt-tip pen (grading "10") and Yankees president Gabe Paul and American League president Lee MacPhail in blue ink (each grading "10"). The four-page contract (8.25 x 11 inches) is completely split in two along the spine and displays a few minor creases. In Very Good condition. 2) 1976 "Letter of Understanding" Addendum to Billy Martin's 1977-1979 New York Yankees Contract. Two-page typed agreement on New York Yankees letterhead, dated September 10, 1976, signed by "Billy Martin" (black felt-tip pen, grading "10") and Gabe Paul (blue ink, "10"). This letter, which is an addendum to Martin's 1977 three-year contract, was drawn up by the Yankees to confirm each party's "understanding with respect to certain matters ancillary to your [Martin's] contract for 1977, 1978, and 1979." This document expressly states Martin's spending limits, both with regard to housing and transportation, as well as miscellaneous expenses during the entire year. 8.5 x 11 inches. Staple holes and diagonal crease in the upper left corner of each page. Ex. 3) 1976 Additional "Letter of Understanding" Addendum to Billy Martin's 1977-1979 New York Yankees Contract. A second one-page agreement between Martin and the New York Yankees which is also an addendum to his 1977 three-year contract. This document, which is dated September 10, 1976, expressly defines eight points central to Martin's contract. Among the many things Martin agrees to are "to refrain from any public criticism of executive management, and to adhere to all Club policies and to personally conduct myself so as to represent the best interests of the New York Yankees" and understand that "I will not be judged solely on my ability to manage, but also by my performance in adhering to all of the above, and the manner in which I represent the best interests and reputation of the New York Yankees both on and off the field. Any violation of the above understanding will serve as just cause for termination of this agreement without recourse." The document is signed by both "Alfred M. Billy Martin (black felt-tip pen, grading "10") and Gabe Paul (blue ink, "10"). 8.5 x 11 inches. Vg-Ex, with a small edge tear along the base and two tiny areas of light discoloration. 4) 1977 "Letter of Understanding" Addendum to Billy Martin's 1977-1979 New York Yankees Contract. This two-page addendum, dated July 28, 1977, voids the previous year's two-page "letter of understanding" and makes note of some of Martin's duties that "may not be specifically spelled out in the uniform player contract." One of the three stipulations in this document again relates to Martin's public criticism of team management: "because of the problems encountered with the press and media it is in the best interest of the club that you be aware that we expect you to refrain from any public criticism of executive management in any manner." Signed by both "Alfred M. Billy Martin and Gabe Paul (each in black felt-tip pen grading "10"). 8.5 x 11 inches. Vg-Ex, with a staple hole and diagonal crease in the upper left corner. 5-6) 1981 Lou Piniella New York Yankees Contract and Option Agreement. Six-page standard "Uniform Player's Contract" calls for Lou Piniella to receive $175,000 for the 1981 season. The contract, which was actually signed by Piniella two years earlier, on February 10, 1979, also calls for Piniella to receive an $85,000 signing bonus payable in three annual installments beginning in 1979. The contract (8.5 x 11 inches) has been signed twice by both Piniella and Cedric Tallis (each has signed in agreement to the contract and to a special covenant regarding travel expenses) and by American League president Lee MacPhail. Accompanying the contract is a one-page option agreement (8.5 x 11 inches), dated "4/7/80," signed by Piniella and Tallis in blue ink, and MacPhail in black marker. All of the signatures grade "10." The contract grades Vg-Ex, while the option agreement grades Ex. 7) 1976 Reggie Jackson Signed Free-Agent Confidentiality Document. On November 29, 1976, the Yankees made their biggest splash to date in the free-agent market by signing Reggie Jackson to a five-year contract in the amount of $2.96 million. At the time, Jackson wanted the terms of the deal kept confidential and made his wishes known in writing with this one-page letter (8.5 x 11 inches), dated November 29, 1976, that reads in full: "Gentlemen: I respectfully request that none of the terms or covenants of my agreement with the New York Yankees be disclosed to any parties whatsoever, with the exception of Mr. Lee MacPhail, President of the American League. You may be assured that no information will be released on this contract by either myself or my representatives." It is signed "Reggie M. Jackson" in brown ink (grading "9/10"). This is an extraordinary letter directly related to one of the one of the most historically significant early free-agency signings and one of the most famous acquisitions in baseball history. Ex. Total: 7 documents. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $500. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $4,113

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