Lot 9101: Hank Aaron 1974 Atlanta Braves Signed Player Contract (Breaks Home Run Record)
Contract, signed “Henry L. Aaron,” five pages on three adjoining sheets, 8.5 x 11, December 19, 1973. National League uniform player's contract in which Hank Aaron agrees to render "skilled services as a baseball player during the year 1974" for the Atlanta Braves, for a salary of $220,000. Signed at the conclusion in ink by Hank Aaron, National League President Chub Feeney, and Atlanta Braves owner William Bartholomay. Following the 1974 season, Aaron was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers, which is noted in a statement signed by Braves Executive Vice President Eddie Robinson, and in two approval stamps signed by NL President Chub Feeney and AL President Lee MacPhail. The contract also contains a "Special Covenant" addendum concerning a $300,000 loan given to Aaron and guaranteed by the ballclub. In fine condition. The 1974 Major League Baseball season was hotly antici2pated—and quite controversial—as Aaron began the year with 713 career home runs, trailing the legendary Babe Ruth by just one for the all-time record. Hammerin' Hank tied Ruth's record in his first swing of the season on April 4th, blasting a pitch from Reds pitcher Jack Billingham into the stands at Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium. He broke the record when the Braves returned to Atlanta on April 8th, sending an Al Downing fastball into the bullpen for his famous 715th home run. Aaron would decide not to retire after the end of the season, and Atlanta traded him to the Milwaukee Brewers for Roger Alexander and Dave May.
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