1964 Steve Carlton St. Louis Cardinals Contract - First Major League Contract!
Starting Bid - $500, Sold For - $4,700
Four-page fold-over contract, dated September 19, 1964, between Steve Carlton and the St. Louis National Baseball Club, Inc., signed in blue ink by both "Steven N. Carlton" (grading "10") and "Robert Howsam" ("10"), general manager of the club. Warren Giles has also signed the contract ("10") in his capacity as National League president. The one-year agreement, for the 1964 season, calls for Carlton to receive a salary of $6,000. This historic document represents Steve Carlton's first Major League contract. The Cardinals signed Carlton out of Miami-Dade Community College in October, 1964, at the age of nineteen. He began the 1964 season with the Class A Rockville Cardinals of the Western Carolinas League where he compiled a record of 10-1 before he was shipped out to another Class A club, the Winnipeg Goldeyes of the Northern League. Four wins later he packed his bags again and joined the Tulsa Oilers of the Texas League, a Cardinals AA affiliate. After just two games with Tulsa the Cardinals called him up in September and signed him to the contract offered here. Unfortunately, the Cardinals were in a tight pennant race that September and he never received an opportunity to take the mound that fall. His Major League debut came on April 12, 1965, though he saw limited action during his first full season in the Majors. After beginning the 1966 season in the minors, he returned to the Cardinals in mid season, where he finished the year with a 3-3 record. In 1967 he joined the club's starting rotation, posting an impressive 14-9 record, and made his first World Series appearance, pitching four innings in the Cardinals' seven-game loss to the Tigers. After unfortunately leading the National League with nineteen losses in 1970 he bounced back with a 20-9 season in 1971. The following year he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies, where he enjoyed one of the greatest seasons in modern-day history by winning twenty-seven games, against ten losses, while recording a 1.97 ERA. What made his record all the more amazing that year was the fact that the Phillies only won fifty-nine games. Carlton won a record 45.9 percent of his club's games and his performance easily won him his first of four Cy Young Awards at season's end. One of the greatest pitchers of his era, and one of the greatest left-handed pitchers of all time, Carlton finished his career in 1988 with 329 wins and a 3.22 ERA. He also holds the distinction of being baseball's all-time strike out leader for left handers and trails only Warren Spahn for most wins by a southpaw. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1994, his first year of eligibility. Baseball contracts of Hall of Fame players, especially those dating from their respective playing careers, are rare and the offered example is no exception. This is the first Carlton contract we have ever offered and only the second Carlton Major League contract we have ever seen. The fact that it is his first Major League contract makes it all the more historically significant. The contract (8.5 x 11 inches) displays a vertical and two horizontal folds, as well as a tiny area of light discoloration on the back page. In Excellent condition overall. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000/$2,000. SOLD FOR $4,700