Lou Gehrig’s Signed 1938 New York Yankees Player’s Contract – Gehrig’s Last Full Season! (PSA/DNA GEM MINT 10)
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At the time this contract was signed, no one could have imagined that it was to be Gehrig’s final full season in pinstripes, especially given his previous year’s totals. The fabled “Iron Horse” batted .351 with 37 home runs and 159 RBI in 1937, numbers that helped power the Yankees to their second consecutive World Championship. Although Gehrig was just two months shy of his 35th birthday at the start of the 1938 campaign, few had any concerns regarding the health of a man who had just played in 1,965 consecutive games and showed no signs of being ready for retirement. Gehrig’s 1938 batting totals, on paper, looked fine: 29 home runs, 114 RBI, and a .295 batting average. They were, however, the lowest numbers Gehrig had posted in each of those categories in over a decade, and those close to him knew something was wrong. By the end of the season it was apparent to everyone that Gehrig’s skills were significantly diminished, so much so that a few reporters even had the temerity to ask manager Joe McCarthy if he were considering taking Gehrig out of the lineup. McCarthy answered them tersely by replying “It’s Lou’s decision.”
In the spring of 1939, Gehrig’s condition severely worsened. His coordination was so bad that teammates privately expressed fear for his safety on the field. Still, McCarthy was adamant in letting Gehrig make the call. After struggling mightily for the first eight games of the 1939 season, Gehrig finally took himself out of the lineup on May 2nd at Detroit. He would never play in another game. Seven weeks later Gehrig received the official word on his condition from the doctors at the Mayo Clinic: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, a terminal disease for which there was no cure. Gehrig passed away just two years later at the age of 38.
This extraordinarily significant Lou Gehrig New York Yankees player’s contract from his final full season is dated March 10, 1938. It calls for Gehrig to receive $39,000 and has been signed in black fountain pen on the interior by both Gehrig and Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert. (Ruppert’s name here has actually been signed by GM Ed Barrow, who often signed contracts and business documents for Ruppert in this manner.) American League President William Harridge has also signed the contract in black fountain pen on the front. Gehrig’s signature, which reads “Henry L. Gehrig,” has been flawlessly scripted and grades a perfect “10,” as do those of both “Ruppert” and Harridge. Among only a handful of Lou Gehrig signed Yankees contracts known in the hobby, this example, commemorating his penultimate season as a New York Yankee, is arguably the most historically important. Contract: EX condition with typical fold lines.
Includes a full LOA from PSA/DNA (Auto. Grade 10).