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    Second only to Hack Wilson's RBI record!

    1931 Lou Gehrig Signed New York Yankees Player's Contract, PSA/DNA Mint 9. He may have spent the bulk of his baseball career in the shadow of the sport's most celebrated figure, but after the two million fan ballots were calculated to determine the Major League Baseball All-Century Team in 1999, it was Lou Gehrig who took top honors, claiming 1,207,992 votes to Babe Ruth's second-place 1,158,044. While the Babe's career stats may be slightly more garish, and his public persona undoubtedly so, Gehrig's electoral victory here should be considered neither unexpected nor unmerited.

    As baseball is the most thoroughly American sport, so should the calculus for baseball greatness be informed in part by those traits that represent the best of our national character: bravery, reliability and quiet strength. And no ballplayer in history held these attributes in greater supply than Lou Gehrig.

    From June 1, 1925 through May 2, 1939, the stout son of German immigrants unfailingly answered the Yankee bell, through broken bones and concussions, all manner of strains and sprains, surrendering the reins to his fabled streak only for the greater good of the team as his namesake illness tightened its grip. It has recently been postulated that Gehrig's resilience may have been his undoing, and that rather than ALS, it was insufficient rest after multiple brain traumas that precipitated his decline and death. And so self-sacrifice can be added to the long list of the Hall of Fame first baseman's noble virtues.

    Gehrig's character and brilliance, both essential in the New York Yankees' elevation to the pinnacle of baseball's hierarchy, have properly fueled intense demand for mementos of his career, while his modesty and untimely passing have served to thwart supply. Of residents in Yankee Stadium's Monument Park, only the autograph of manager Miller Huggins, likewise felled by sudden illness, is a greater challenge to collectors.

    But no autograph could be considered more significant than one which affirms a covenant between the man and the team he captained to glory. We find just such an example on page two of this four-page "Uniform Player's Contract" that assigns a $25,000 salary to the unbreakable first baseman, with a typed addendum assuring another thousand-dollar payment "at the end of the 1931 season provided Manager McCarthy approves of such additional payment."

    There could be no question that he did. Gehrig supplied the Yankees with perhaps the finest season of his Hall of Fame career in 1931, posting American League-topping tallies for runs (163), runs batted in (185), hits (211), home runs (46) and total bases (410). Only the absurd pitching mastery of Lefty Grove (31-4, 2.06 ERA) denied Gehrig the American League MVP.

    Joining Gehrig, and his handwritten "9 Meadow Lane" address on the second page of the contract is the signature of fellow Hall of Famer and Yankees team owner Jacob Ruppert. American League president Ernest Barnard's appears on the contract cover, with his handwritten filing notations. All black fountain pen ink is 9/10 or better, and the contract itself is free of any distraction beyond a centimeter's separation at the original storage fold lines. Full Grading LOA from PSA/DNA, Mint 9. Full LOA from James Spence Authentication.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2017
    10th Sunday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 7
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