Baseball

Hall of Famer Branch Rickey Signed Player’s Contract.

Partly Printed Document Signed “Branch Rickey” as Vice President of the St. Louis Cardinals, three pages, 8.5” x 11”, front and verso of two conjoined sheets. [St. Louis], December 29, 1933. Completed in type. Lightly soiled. Fine condition.

Accompanied by an 8.75” x 4” envelope, colorful Cardinals logo in upper left, addressed to “Mr. Eugene Moore, / Lancaster, Texas,” postmarked St. Louis, Missouri, February 7, 1934. From a later communication with Moore. Forwarded from Lancaster, Texas, to Edwards, Mississippi, c/o S.L. Bryan. Opened at right removing part of postage stamp.

National League of Professional Baseball Clubs Uniform Player’s Contract. In part, “ Parties. The St. Louis National Baseball Club herein called the Club, and Eugene Moore of Lancaster, Texas herein called the Player … the Club hereby employs the Player to render skilled service as a baseball player in connection with all games of the Club during the year 1934 … For the service aforesaid the Club will pay the Player an aggregate salary of $3000.00…”

Branch Rickey (1881-1965) was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1967. His HOF plaque is engraved: “Founder of Farm System which he developed for St. Louis Cardinals and Brooklyn Dodgers. Copied by all other Major League teams. Served as Executive for Browns, Cardinals, Dodgers and Pirates. Brought Jackie Robinson to Brooklyn in 1947.” His HOF biography: “After a mediocre career as a player and manager, Branch Rickey spent half a century in the front office as baseball’s greatest visionary executive. With the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1920s and 1930s, Rickey invented the modern farm system, promoting a new way of training and developing players. Later with the Brooklyn Dodgers, he pioneered the utilization of baseball statistics. In 1945, he became the first executive to break baseball’s color line when he signed Jackie Robinson, who became the major leagues’ first African-American player in the 20th century.”

This contract, signed by Branch Rickey on December 29, 1933, was mailed to Gene Moore but was not signed by him. Evidently Rickey was certain Moore would sign with the Cardinals, which he did. From an Associated Press story a month earlier, datelined St. Louis, November 26: “‘I feel that all they need to win the pennant is for the men now on the club to click,’ the Cardinals vice president said today … As Rickey views the outlook, the pitching is ‘good,’ the infield ‘strong,’ and the outfield ‘greatly strengthened’ by the addition of three recruits, Gene Moore from Houston, Buster Mills from Rochester and John Rothrock from Columbus. ‘If somebody had said to me, “Go out and buy the three best outfielders you can buy,” these three would have been among the first four I would have considered,’ Rickey asserted…”

In a February 17, 1934 interview with the “Chicago Daily Tribune,” St. Louis Cardinals player-manager Frankie Frisch gave this lineup: “Collins on first, Frisch on second, Durocher at short stop, and Martin on third. Medwick will be in left field, [Ernie] Orsatti, Mills from Rochester, and Gene Moore from Houston will all have a fling at the center field job. For right field, we have Watkins and Rothrock. Davis will do most of the catching…”

Outfielder Eugene Moore (1909-1978), nicknamed “Rowdy,” played for the Cincinnati Reds in 1931 and three teams in the Illinois-Indiana-Iowa League and the New York/Penn League in 1932. In 1933, he played for the Houston Buffaloes in the Texas League. He also appeared in 11 games for St. Louis in 1933 batting .395 (15 for 38). Moore played for the Cardinals in 1934 and 1935 and the Boston Braves (1936-1938, 1940-1941), Brooklyn Dodgers (1939-1940), Washington Senators (1942-1943), and St. Louis Browns (1944-1945). He was a member of the 1937 National League All-Star Team and played for the St. Louis Browns in all six games of the 1944 World Series won by the St. Louis Cardinals. In the low scoring Series, Gene Moore led the Browns in runs scored with 4; only the Cardinals Ray Sanders had more (5).

Pre-certified by Spence


Item: 53198

Price: $1,500.00
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