The original contract which took Lou Gehrig to the New York Yankees looks set to fetch more than $500,000 when it hits the auction block next month.
The historic document will be offered for sale in Dallas on August 19-20, as part of Heritage Auctions’ Sports Collectibles Catalogue Auction.
The official ‘American League of Professional Baseball Clubs Uniform Player’s Contract’ dates from 1924, when Gehrig officially moved up to the Major League having started his career with the Hartford Senators.
"Although Hartford watches Gehrig go with regret," reported the Hartford Courant on August 30, 1924, "Local fans on the whole are delighted to see him make his way to the big show and will pull for him to develop into a genuine big leaguer."
Gehrig went on to become one of the greatest and most beloved players in baseball history, and today his memorabilia regularly fetches six-figure sums.
The record for any piece of Lou Gehrig memorabilia was set back in 2010, when a Yankees jersey from his remarkable 1927 season sold at Heritage Auctions for $717,000.
The auction comes hot on the heels of another sale featuring a historic baseball contract – that of Gehrig’s Yankees team-mate Babe Ruth.
The contract which took Ruth to New York from the Boston Red Sox in 1919 sold at Leland’s last week for a stunning $2.3 million, having been consigned from the collection of actor Charlie Sheen.
Although Gehrig’s contract is unlikely to command quite such a high figure, there’s no doubt that for baseball fans he remains one of the game’s most revered players.
Gehrig spent his entire 16-year career with the Yankees where he became known as the ‘Iron Horse’.
Throughout his career he won six World Series titles, a Triple Crown, was twice voted the American league’s MVP, and played 2,130 consecutive games, setting a record that stood for 56 years.
Gehrig was diagnosed with the muscular disease ALS in 1939, which forced his retirement from baseball and tragically caused his death two years later in 1941.
He became the first player in MLB history to have his jersey number retired, is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, and in 1999 was nominated into the baseball All-Century Team, gaining more votes from fans than any other player – including Babe Ruth.
According to the auction house, the contract is "among the most significant ever to emerge from the archives of the New York Yankees, a collectible that stands shoulder to shoulder with the million-dollar document that brought Babe Ruth into pinstripes."