Lot # 4: Extraordinary 1961-62 Roberto Clemente Signed Puerto Rican Contract between Clemente and the San Juan “Los Nuevos” Senadores Club

Category: Autographs

Starting Bid: $2,000.00

Bids: 12 (Bid History)

Time Left: Auction closed
Lot / Auction Closed

This lot is closed. Bidding is not allowed.

Item was in Auction "Spring '23 Rarities Auction",
which ran from 4/13/2023 9:00 AM to
5/6/2023 7:00 PM

(LOT 4)
Extraordinary 1961-62 Roberto Clemente Signed Puerto Rican Contract between Clemente and the San Juan "Los Nuevos" Senadores Club

AMAZING CLEMENTE CONTRACT!!!... The immortal Roberto Clemente's professional baseball career commenced in October 1952, when Clemente signed his first professional contract with the legendary Cangrejeros de Santurce Puerto Rican Winter League club. The next season, Clemente would be given a starting job in the outfield, batting a formidable .288 and catching the eye of many professional scouts via his five-tool skill set. While he would continue playing for this prominent Winter League club, the Brooklyn Dodgers signed him in the amateur draft in February 1954, assigning him to play with the renowned Montreal Royals. After a single season with Royals, the Pirates would eventually select Clemente in the rookie draft, signing the star right-fielder on November 22, 1954. Clemente would capture a championship with the 1954-55 Cangrejeros club, and made his Major League debut with Pittsburgh on April 17, 1955.

Although his rookie season would see the future Cooperstown inductee only bat .255, his combined hitting, fielding and base running skills ultimately led to the star right-fielder ending his career with a spectacular .317 lifetime average as well as winning 12 consecutive Gold Glove Awards. An avid supporter of his native Puerto Rican birthplace, Clemente continued playing Puerto Rican Winter League baseball throughout his illustrious career, including numerous off-season stints with the popular San Juan Los Nuevas Senadores (The New Senators) club. One of those off-season campaigns spent playing in San Juan was in 1961-62, and presented here is the one of a kind Los Nuevos Senadores four-page contract signed by the late Roberto Clemente!

The Senadores de San Juan club was a top Puerto Rican League team for many years, winning eight championships and boasting a number of prominent MLB players including Monte Irvin, Larry Doby, Roy Campanella, Thurman Munson, Johnny Bench, Tony Gwynn, Manny Sanguillen, Roberto Clemente, Carlos Delgado, Bernie Williams, Edgar Martinez, Juan Gonzalez, Roberto Alomar, Carlos Baerga and Rubin Sierra, just to mention a few. Of course, along with Bench and Gwynn, Clemente arguably stands as the most iconic of all those players, and this particular 1961-62 contract depicts the legendary Cooperstown Inductee signing for a mere $700 per month to play winter ball. The Senadores would end their 1961-62 season with only a 41-40 record, but only two years later, Clemente's robust .345 average would propel them to their fourth league championship.

Clemente's bold ink "Roberto Clemente" signature can be found near the lower right quadrant on page 2, directly beneath the Executive Director's script, with Clemente's hallowed signature presenting itself in approximate "9 MINT" strength. Obviously unique, this timeless contract includes four full pages, with two hole-punches situated near the upper edge. Signed in December 1961, it has remained in excellent condition, with the only notable flaws being the aforementioned hole punches and some negligible scattered toning. A remarkable keepsake, it serves as a sheer reminder of Clemente's benevolent character, with the Pirates star right-fielder persistent in returning to his homeland whenever he could to play baseball before his captivated fan base.

It was this enduring quality that ultimately led to Clemente's tragic death, when on January 31, 1972, in an attempt to carry supplies to assist earthquake victims in Nicaragua, his plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean and claimed Clemente's life at the tender age of 38. Forgoing the standard five-year waiting rule, baseball decided to induct Clemente into the Hall of Fame in 1973, where his legacy will echo for eternity. It is no secret that Clemente's eclectic collectibles are highly sought after by advanced enthusiasts, and we cannot imagine a more desirable keepsake than this unique 1961-62 Winter League contract that effectively turns back the clock to an era when this Latin American icon dominated our National Pastime at a level far superior than any Latino professional ballplayer. Indeed, Roberto Clemente's unparalleled stature amongst the Hispanic baseball community is unquestionably synonymous with the magnitude of Jackie Robinson's legacy to all African Americans!

MIN BID $2,000

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