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Lot # 1140 (of 1673)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

Eddie Waitkus Signed 1954 Philadelphia Phillies Contract and Pro Model Bat

Starting Bid - $200.00 , Sold For - $822.50

Eddie Waitkus was a slick fielding first baseman and an above average hitter who enjoyed a solid eleven-year Major League career. However, he is best remembered today for a bizarre and tragic incident that occurred in 1949. Waitkus was in the midst of another fine season with the Phillies that summer when, on the night of June 14th, he was invited up to the hotel room of a female fan whom he had never met. The woman, a pretty nineteen-year-old by the name of Ruth Steinhagen, asked Waitkus to sit down and then went to to the closet, saying she had a surprise for him. As Waitkus sat there, somewhat perplexed, she turned to him with a rifle in her hands and shot him in the chest. Miraculously, Waitkus survived the attack and the incident later served as the inspiration for author Bernard Malamud's famous novel, The Natural , wherein the life of Roy Hobbs is loosely based on that of Waitkus. Waitkus returned to the Phillies the following year and even though he regained his form, the shooting incident continued to affect him mentally. After battling bouts of depression and alcohol abuse, he eventually succumbed to a nervous breakdown. He later enjoyed a full recovery and spent his final years working with kids at the Ted Williams baseball camp before passing away with cancer in 1972. Offered here are two significant items relating to the baseball career of Eddie Waitkus: a 1940s Eddie Waitkus pro-model bat and his 1954 Philadelphia Phillies contract. 1) 1943-1949 Eddie Waitkus H&B Pro-Model Bat. The signature model "U1" bat displays heavy use, including a seven-inch wrap of vintage black tape on the handle (which partially hides a major crack) and significant deadwood on the reverse of the barrel. It appears that three separate wraps of tape were once applied to the barrel to repair the deadwood but have since been removed (the outlines remain). Length: 34 inches. Weight: 33.5 ounces. 2) 1954 Eddie Waitkus Philadelphia Phillies Player Contract. The Official National League Uniform Player's Contract for the year 1954 is between Eddie Waitkus and the Philadelphia National League Club. The fully executed contract, dated 2/9/54, calls for Waitkus to receive $15,000 for the season. It has been signed by Waitkus, a representative of the Phillies, and, Warren Giles, President of the National League. Interestingly, Waitkus never played with the Phillies that season, as he was traded to Baltimore before the season started. That trade is noted here on the front of the contract in a special addendum, which explicitly states that the contract is assigned outright to the Baltimore Baseball Club. American League President William Harridge signed the interior in approval of the transaction. All of the signatures grade "9" or "10" and the contract (8.5 x 11 inches, folded) is in Excellent condition. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Total: 2 items (bat and contract). Reserve $200. Estimate $400/$800. SOLD FOR $822.50


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