Three-page accordion-style contract, dated November 21, 1973, between Gary Carter and the Caguas Baseball Club of the Puerto Rico Professional Baseball League, signed in blue ink by "Gary E. Carter" (grading "10") and the president of the Caguas club. The agreement calls for Carter to receive $900 per month, plus $450 per month for expenses, for the 1973-1974 winter season. Interestingly, the contract is double-sided, with the opposite side printed in Spanish (which would be used for Spanish-speaking players). Carter, who was nineteen years old at the time, spent nearly the entire 1973 season playing for the AA Quebec Carnavals of the Eastern League. During the winter, the Expos sent him to play in the instructional league, but a month later Caguas of the Puerto-Rican League became in need of a backup for catcher Jim Essian. Jim Fanning, general manager of the Expos, recommended Carter for the role, and in late November he signed on for the remainder of the season. The 1973/1974 Caguas club was one of the finest teams in Puerto-Rican League history, and the roster included a number of young up-and-coming major league players, including Mike Schmidt, Jay Johnstone, and Craig Swan. After Essian became injured, Carter assumed the starting duties and played extremely well, leading Caguas to the league title. Carter's performance during he Caribbean Series also led to his being named catcher on the series all-star team. Carter started the 1974 season with the AAA Memphis Blues, but made his major league debut with Expos on September 16th. He never returned to the minors. For the next eighteen seasons he was one of the top catcher's in the game,, appearing in eleven All-Star Games and leading the 1986 Mets to the World Championship. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2003. Baseball contracts of Hall of Fame players, especially those dating from their respective playing careers, are rare and the offered example is no exception. This is the first Carter contract we have ever offered and we cannot recall having seen another at public auction. As a point of reference, Mike Schmidt's 1973 Caguas Puerto-Rican League contract appeared as Lot 1066 in REA's April 2013 auction, where it realized $3,259. The contract (8.5 x 11 inches) displays two notebook holes at the top border and is in Excellent condition overall. Auction LOA from James Spence/JSA. Pre certified by Steve Grad and Brian Sobrero/Beckett Authentication. Reserve $300. Estimate (open).
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