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Rare Clemente Items from Start to Finish of Career Offered at Geppi’s Memorabilia Road Show's October Auction

First Contract, Last Home Run Ball, Span Brilliant Career

Roberto Clemente remains one of the most collectible and rarest of modern players in auction circles, his untimely death coming prior to the memorabilia craze that sent players to autograph shows and had people gathering career items.

Two of the most important Clemente items ever to be auctioned will appear at the Geppi’s Memorabilia Road Show auction culminating October 27. Both are expected to draw great attention.

The two are bookends to his great career – his first professional contract, and his last home run ball.

The contract comes from October 9, 1952, when 17-year old Roberto signed to play for the Santurce Crabbers in his native Puerto Rico. Because he was a minor, not only is his signature on the contract, but also those of his parents, Andres and Mercol. The contract called for $40 a week salary, and Roberto even added his fingerprint to the document, as was apparently requested. This was his entry into professional baseball, and prior to his signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

The baseball was the ball he hit off Ross Grimsley on October 10, 1972, Game Four of the NLCS vs. Cincinnati, signed by Clemente in green ink, along with teammates Bob Robertson, Dave Cash, Jose Pagan, Richie Hebner and Dave Giusti. It was caught by a police officer (items includes his affidavit) and signed the following day. About 10 weeks later, Clemente died in a plane crash on a mercy mission to Nicaragua. This, then, would have been one of his last autographs.

Both items are authenticated by James Spence Authentication.

The auction, by phone, fax and email, will also include the Bert Padell Collection, one of the largest single consignor auctions since Barry Halper, the Stanley Weston-Toby Weston Cone Collection of boxing memorabilia, which at one time made up the Boxing Hall of Fame in old Madison Square Garden, and consignments from Orioles great Brooks Robinson.

Geppi’s Memorabilia Road Show is unique in obtaining all consignments directly from sports insiders, notably players, their families or their representatives, or those who worked in the industry.

The company is headquartered at 1966 Greenspring Drive, Timonium, Maryland 21093. The telephone number is 877-ROAD-SHW (877-762-3749) or +011 (410)427-9456 outside the US. The website is www.gmrs.com.

Source: Geppi’s Memorabilia Road Show
Date: September 2, 2005

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