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    The Negro League legend takes MVP honors!

    1939-40 Satchel Paige Signed Puerto Rican Winter League Contract.
    The late 1930's and early 1940's saw an arms race of sorts on the island nation of Puerto Rico, as the Winter Leagues opened eligibility to a limited number of foreign players. The Negro Leagues quickly became prime hunting grounds for Puerto Rican general managers, with Josh Gibson claimed by the Santurce team (his 1939 contract is likewise on offer within this Platinum Night auction) and Satchel Paige signed to represent the Brujos de Guayama (translation: Guayama Witch Doctors). Guayama, on Puerto Rico's southern shore, is widely known for the religion of Santeria, a local faith blending aspects of Christianity and indigenous native traditions that incorporates divination and animal sacrifice. Paige is said to have been driven from the mound at Guayama during the 1939 season by the vision of a ghost standing next to him, one of the more colorful tales from a baseball career with no shortage thereof.

    But when Paige wasn't distracted by supernatural phenomena, he was dominating the Caribbean competition, setting League records that stand to this day--nineteen (19) victories and 208 strikeouts--while recording a 1.93 ERA in 205 innings of work. Puerto Rican pitcher Ramón Bayron reported, "It took special eyes to see his pitches," while future Brooklyn Dodger Luis Olmo described Paige's 1939 campaign as "the best I've ever seen."

    Presented is the contract that secured Paige's services for his MVP winter season of 1939-40, a standard "Contrato de Jugador" for the "Liga Semi-Professional de Baseball de Puerto Rico." The terms dictate a salary of fifty dollars per week, with the future Hall of Famer consenting on page three with a 9/10 black fountain pen signature reading, "Leroy Satchell Paige." Also signing on this page are the team president and two witnesses. The autograph of the league president appears on the first page above a stamped date of "Oct 27, 1939."

    While Paige's long and active post-baseball life has made his signature far more common than that of fellow Negro League legend Josh Gibson, it is worthy of note that the population of known Gibson contracts doubles that of this superstar hurler. Our auction results database supplies not a single example of a signed Paige playing contract, establishing this offering as the lone survivor.

    Original storage folds and general handling wear are evident, but the overall condition is quite strong without any serious distractions. The contract is attractively framed to dimensions of 17.5x33.5" between two panes of glass to allow viewing of front and back, along with a double-sided modern photographic print of Paige in his prime. Full LOA from PSA/DNA. Full LOA from James Spence Authentication.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2015
    21st-22nd Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 11
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,495

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

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