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    1948 Joe DiMaggio Signed New York Yankees Contract. The Yankee Clipper's return to his world-class form in 1947, and his essential contributions to the ballclub's World Championship campaign, resulted in a healthy raise for the 1948 season (though increased vitality of the US economy in the years following the war surely played a role as well). DiMaggio would respond to this pay bump with what was arguably the finest season of his career, one in which he clubbed a League-leading and career-best 155 runs batted in with thirty-nine homers (also tops in the A.L.) to earn runner-up to Lou Boudreau in MVP voting.

    The presented contract finds "$65,000" handwritten in the blank for player salary on the first page, with DiMaggio consenting to the terms with his 9+/10 black fountain pen autograph on page three. Just above is a handwritten incentive clause, stating "In the event the New York club draws an official paid attendance of 1,600,000 for the 1948 American League Championship season player is to receive an additional $10,000 making a total of $75,000." It is unclear whether DiMaggio would have earned this bonus, because while the paid attendance cleared 2,300,000, the Yanks were not pennant winners this season. Hall of Fame executive George Weiss has signed as the Yankees' representative.

    Short of original storage folds, the contract survives in flawless condition. Auction LOA from James Spence Authentication.

    Though they stood as warring Generals, like U.S. Grant and Robert E. Lee, on opposing sides of baseball's greatest rivalry, Ted Williams once admitted, "DiMaggio was the greatest all-around player I ever saw. His career cannot be summed up in numbers and awards. It might sound corny, but he had a profound and lasting impact on the country." During the 1940's there was no greater baseball hero than the Yankee Clipper, and arguably no more famous celebrity in any field of endeavor. Few figures are quite so assured an enduring position in twentieth century American history and, as such, the documents that follow are as worthy of placement within the Smithsonian Museum in Washington as in the Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown. Recently located in a forgotten archive of legal documents, the contracts presented in the lots that follow make their hobby debut here.

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    Auction Dates
    October, 2009
    1st-2nd Thursday-Friday
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