1936 Tony Lazzeri Signed New York Yankees Contract

Sold For: $8,295

Auction Year: 2012 spring

Lot: 750

Item Year: 1936

Category: Baseball Contracts

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Four-page fold-over contract, dated March 2, 1936, between Tony Lazzeri and the American League Base Ball Club of New York, signed in green ink by "Anthony Lazzeri" (grading "10") and in black fountain pen by "Jacob Ruppert" ("10"), owner of the Yankees. Also signed in black fountain pen ("8") by William Harridge in his capacity as American League president. The one-year agreement calls for Lazzeri to receive an annual salary of $12,000. Lazzeri joined the Yankees in 1926 and for the next twelve years he remained a fixture at second base for the "Bronx Bombers." Always in the shadow of larger-than-life legends such as Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, and best remembered as one of the key members of 1927's "Murderers' Row" Yankees lineup, the soft-spoken Lazzeri always carried a "big stick" to the plate. "Poosh 'Em Up Tony" drove in over 100 runs on eight separate occasions (no small feat when one considers that for his first nine years he was batting behind Ruth and Gehrig) and he finished his career with a .292 average. Highly regarded in the field as well, Lazzeri helped lead the Yankees to six pennants and five World Championships during his twelve-year tenure with the club. Lazzeri batted .287 with 14 home runs and 109 RBI in 1936 and then capped the season with a team-high seven RBI in the Yankees' six-game victory over the Giants in the World Series. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1991. 104 of Hall of Fame players, especially those dating from their respective playing careers, are rare and the offered example is no exception. This is only the second Tony Lazzeri contract we have ever offered, with the first having sold for $3,525 in our May 2011 auction. The fact that this example dates from the Yankees 1936 World Championship season, which marked the start of the club's historic 1936-1939 dynasty, makes it especially desirable. The contract (8.5 x 11 inches) displays two horizontal folds, as well as a few minor surface wrinkles. In Excellent condition overall. Matted and framed (unfolded) to total dimensions of 23.5 x 18 inches. Ideally, the piece has been framed with Plexiglas on each side, so that both the front and reverse of the contract can be viewed in their entirety. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $1,000. Estimate $2,500+. SOLD FOR $8,295

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