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1972 Nolan Ryan Signed California Angels Contract - First American League Contract
Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $5,925
Six-page fold-over contract, dated January 20, 1972, between Nolan Ryan and the Golden West Baseball Co. (California Angels), signed in blue ink by "Nolan Ryan" (grading "10") and "H. I. Dalton" ("9") as general manager. Also signed in blue ink by Joe Cronin ("10") as American League President. The one-year contract, for the 1972 season, calls for Ryan to receive a salary of $27,000. This is both a historic and highly desirable Nolan Ryan contract commemorating his emergence as the game's most dominating pitcher. Ryan was traded by the New York Mets to the California Angels in a multiplayer deal on December 10, 1971. For Ryan, the trade was a match made in heaven. Ryan flourished in his new role as the ace of the Angels staff in 1972, posting the best numbers of his young career: 19 wins, league-leading totals in both shutouts (9) and strikeouts (329), and a 2.28 ERA. For the next two decades Ryan reigned as baseball's most dominant strikeout pitcher, leading his respective league in that category on eleven separate occasions, including a record 383 strikeouts in 1973. He retired in 1993 with 324 wins, a record 5,714 strikeouts, and a 3.19 lifetime ERA. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1999, his first year of eligibility. 104 of Hall of Fame players are rare and the offered example is no exception. This is the first Ryan contract we have ever offered and we can only recall having seen three other examples at public auction. The contract (8.5 x 11 inches) displays two horizontal folds and is in Excellent to Mint condition. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $5,925
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