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    The legendary outfielder makes his case for a higher salary

    1960 Roberto Clemente Handwritten Letter re: Contract Negotiations. It's a fine balance when negotiating contracts with a sensitive athlete, requiring enough praise to illustrate faith and support, and enough criticism to justify ownership's financial bottom line. The typed copy of Pirates general manager Joe Brown's letter to Roberto Clemente deftly walks this wire, referencing the dispassionate truth of the stat lines to argue that "You had a fair year in 1959 but only that," but also, "You have great ability and can become one of the outstanding players in baseball if you ever approach your potential."

    That letter derives from the same Pittsburgh Pirates player folder that held the handwritten letter to Brown on the same topic, penned in English in Clemente's distinctive script. The grammar and spelling is occasionally (and forgivably) shaky, but the sentiment is clear. An excerpt:

    "On your letter you said that contract that you offer me is more than fair in your opinion. I agreed with that if you are talking for a 1959 contract. But talking about 1960 I think and I want a better contract. I want the $20,000 plus $3000 = 23,000 for 1960. I don't ask for 40,000 or 50,000 because I know that I din't (sic) play that kind of ball so far but I can't make what I ask for and for me I think is a fair one."

    Clemente nearly runs out of space on the unlined 5.5x9" (viewable area) page, wedging his closing sentiment at the bottom: "Best wishes for all, Sincerely, Roberto." All ink is 9+/10. Joe Brown's initials appear on each page in the display, which is matted and framed to 18x30".

    Clemente would have a breakthrough season in 1960, improving his slugging percentage by a hundred points and nearly doubling his runs batted in. That surge in production paid huge dividends, as the Bucs added seventeen games to the regular season win column to take their first pennant since 1927, then going on to one of the greatest World Series upsets in history with an improbable defeat of the New York Yankees.

    That's what you'd call leverage for 1961 contract talks. Full LOA from PSA/DNA. Auction LOA from James Spence Authentication.

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    Auction Dates
    July, 2015
    30th-31st Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 10
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