Lot 9067: Orlando Cepeda 1956 Puerto Rico Winter League Signed Player Contract
21st February 2019
Rare contract in Spanish, signed “Orlando Cepeda Pennes,” four pages on two adjoining sheets, 8.5 x 11, stamp-dated October 19, 1956. Professional Baseball League of Puerto Rico contract in which a 19-year-old Orlando Cepeda, "a native of Ponce, Puerto Rico," agrees to "provide efficient and loyal services as a baseball player during the 1956-1957" season for the Santurce baseball club, including the period of team training and all preseason and postseason games sponsored by the league, for a monthly salary of $350. Signed on the second page in black ink by Cepeda, who adds his address, "Argentina #655 Santurce, P. R." Countersigned twice by the team's general manager, Pedro Zorrilla, and an official of the Puerto Rico Baseball League. In very good to fine condition, with punch holes to upper border, and some scattered spotting and staining. In Thomas E. Van Hyning’s book Puerto Rico’s Winter League: A History of Major League Baseball’s Launching Pad, he discusses how Cepeda joined Santurce in 1955 but ultimately earned very little playing time due to future Cardinals All-Star Bill White manning first base for the Crabbers. 'In a distinguished Puerto Rico career, Cepeda played a lot of first base and some outfield. His .323 lifetime league batting average is identical to Clemente’s. A two-time league MVP, Cepeda won one batting award, two RBIs and two home run titles. The Cepeda father-and-son duo, Perucho and Orlando, earned three batting crowns, five RBI titles and three MVP laurels between them.’
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