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1927 Rabbit Maranville St. Louis Cardinals Contract
Starting Bid - $300, Sold For - $2,938
Four-page fold-over contract, dated September 2, 1927, between Walter "Rabbit" Maranville and the St. Louis National Baseball Club, signed in black fountain pen by "Walter J. Maranville" (grading "10") and in blue ink by "Branch Rickey" ("10"), president of the club. The stamped facsimile signature of National League president John Heydler also appears on the contract. The one-year agreement, for the 1927 season, calls for Maranville to receive a salary of $7,500. Maranville was already a veteran of fifteen Major League seasons at the time he signed this contract and it signaled a rebirth for the diminutive shortstop. Maranville had been unceremoniously released by Brooklyn on August 21,1926, and found himself out of baseball until the Cardinals signed him to a minor-league contract on November 23, 1926. Knowing that this might be his last chance at a Major League job, Maranville, who was known as an especially hard drinker, took drastic measures that season. After spending most of the 1927 season with Rochester of the International League, the Cardinals recalled him in September and found him to be a new man. At the time of his return, he announced to the world that "The national consumption of alcoholic beverages took a sharp downturn after May 24, 1927. That's the day I stopped drinking." Maranville showed enough during his one month with the club to convince the Cardinals that he could once again contribute at the Major League level. The following spring he was given the starting shortstop job and he rewarded their faith by leading the Cardinals to the National League pennant. That winter, the Cardinals sold Maranville's contract to the Boston Braves, the team he broke into the Majors with in 1912, and he remained in Boston for the remainder of his career, eventually retiring in 1935 at the age of forty-four. Considered one of the finest defensive shortstops to ever play the game, Maranville retired with a host of Major League records for a shortstop, including most chances, most putouts, most assists, and most years leading the league in putouts. He also led the league in fielding percentage at his position on five separate occasions. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1954. 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 Maranville contract we have ever offered and we cannot recall having seen another example. The contract (8.5 x 11 inches) displays two horizontal folds and numerous small creases in the area along the spine. In Very Good to Excellent condition overall. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $300. Estimate $500/$1,000. SOLD FOR $2,938
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