1970 Thurman Munson Vintage Signed Autoball Contract
On the eve of his first big league season, Thurman Munson signed this contract with the Autographed Ball Co. of High Point, North Carolina, granting them the right to sell baseball facsimiles autographed by the young catcher for the less than princely royalty of a penny for each ball sold. Munson, of course, went on that season to win AL Rookie of the Year honors, batting .302 with 7 home runs and 57 RBIs, kicking off a career that saw him capture the MVP Award in 1976 and Gold Glove Awards from 1973-75. A seven-time All-Star, he notched 113 home runs, 701 RBIs and had a career batting average of .292, along the way becoming the first captain named by the Yankees since a fella named Gehrig. The contract dated March 7, 1970 is an early Munson goodie that recalls the infusion of fresh new blood he brought to the then-moribund pinstripers whom he would revitalize and help turn into two-time champs. Munson’s spit-in-your-eye style and clutch hitting made him the indispensable Yankee, and his tragic death in a private plane crash on August 2, 1979 still hurts deep inside every Yankee fan. His valuable signature on the one-page contract is worth a whole lot more than a penny, punctuating as it does a fine piece of early Munson memorabilia. Turned in black pen above the line designated “Signature of Second Party”, the signature has faded a wee bit but still grades a good 7/10. Contract itself is 8 x 8.5” and technically G-VG with a touch of bunching/wrinkling, a blue splotch on the top right quadrant, and several fold marks. All of which somehow seems appropriate for a guy who displayed signs of wear and tear as a badge of honor.