Description1971 Nolan Ryan Signed Uniform Player's Contract Noting Transfer to California Angels. Though the first glance, and the opening page of this boilerplate document, would indicate that this is a simple agreement for $20,000 for Ryan's service to the New York Mets of 1971, a turn of the page reveals one of the most momentous transactions in baseball history. Two "assignment" stamps and a typed addendum reading "As of Dec. 10, 1971, this contract is hereby assigned outright to the California Angels Club of the Am. Lg." spell the end of Ryan's Big Apple tenure and the beginning of sunnier days in the City of Angels.
Ryan did enjoy a World Championship 1969 season at Shea, but his talents were largely stifled during his Mets years, never pitching more than 152 innings in any of his four complete tours of duty. The move to California signaled his transformation into the workhorse that would ultimately become the game's Strikeout King. Ryan pitched 284 innings in the 1972 Angels season, and well over three hundred in the next two years, claiming the single season strikeout total in each. "I look back now," Ryan told a reporter, "and realize that the Angels represented a fresh start." The club was young and hungry, and allowed their ace to spread his wings and fly in a way never possible in Queens.
It may be overstating matters somewhat to compare this contract/transfer to that which transformed Babe Ruth from a Red Sock to a Yankee, but not by much. In each case, the actions freed each ballplayer to chart his own path to baseball's pantheon. The standard four-page contract is signed by "Lynn Nolan Ryan, Jr.", twice by Mets general manager Bob Scheffing, once by American League president Joe Cronin, and twice by National League president Chub Feeney. All autographs, and the contract itself, present without any flaws of note. Pre-certified by PSA/DNA. Auction LOA from James Spence Authentication.
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2018 November 15-16 Fall Sports Card Catalog Auction