1934 Lefty Gomez Signed Tour Of Japan Baseball Contract – The Only One Known

Lefty Gomez began his storybook Major League career in 1930. For the next ten seasons he remained one of the team's top pitchers, leading the club to five World Championships over that span. He was also the starting pitcher for the American League in the first All-Star Game in 1933. He was selected as an All-Star every year between 1933 and 1939. He sustained an arm injury in 1940. Though he rebounded well in 1941, he pitched his last full season in 1942, then appeared in one game in 1943 before retiring with the Washington Senators. Gomez finished his career with 182 wins and a lifetime ERA of 3.34. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1972.

Lefty's best season came in 1934, when he won 26 games and lost just five. In both 1934 and 1937, he won pitching's "Triple Crown" by leading the league in wins, ERA and strikeouts; he also led the AL both seasons in shutouts. His .649 career winning percentage ranks 15th in major league history among pitchers with 200 or more decisions. Among pitchers who made their MLB debuts from 1900 to 1950, only Lefty Grove, Christy Mathewson and Whitey Ford have both more victories and a higher winning percentage than Gomez.

The 1934 tour of Japan by Connie Mack's "All-American" team is considered by many to be the most famous overseas baseball tour in history. The reason is twofold. This was the first and only overseas tour of Babe Ruth's career, and his popularity, even in Japan, was so great that he was treated like royalty by the Japanese people. The second, lesser known reason had to do with the fact that Moe Berg was on the team. Berg was a journeyman catcher of little note and his inclusion on the roster was not by Connie Mack's choosing, but rather by that of the United States government. Unbeknownst to everyone at the time, Berg, a Princeton graduate who spoke seven different languages, was living a dual life. On the surface he was a professional ballplayer. His other career, however, was that of an undercover spy for the U. S. Government. Intelligence officials saw the 1934 baseball tour as an ideal opportunity to acquire important information regarding Japan's major cities, and for that reason Berg was hastily added to the roster just before the team set sail. Armed with a movie camera, Berg took hundreds of reconnaissance films that were later used by the government during World War II. Berg's secret agenda aside, the tour also further fueled the popularity of baseball in Japan and in December of 1934, Japan's first professional baseball league was formed. He was a natural key component for Major League Baseball’s 1934 Tour of Japan

Offered is a SUPER RARE artifact from this tour that originally derived from the estate/collection of Vernon “Lefty” Gomez.  This 8.5” x 11” document is dated August 24, 1934; the day before the Tour was publicly announced around the World.  It is signed “Vernon Gomez” agreeing to pitch 17 games for the 1934 Babe Ruth All-American All-Star Tour to Japan, Hong Kong, Hawaii and Manila. The only compensation to Gomez was an agreement "to arrange all transportation matters, paying all transportation costs, board and laundry for said player and his wife."

Although the 1934 Tour was sponsored by Matsutaro Shoriki, owner of the Japanese Yomiuri Shimbun media conglomerate, the All-American All-Star team was managed by HOF Connie Mack, manager of the Philadelphia Athletics. Thus, the player contract negotiations were conducted stateside in the USA by Connie Mack's VP, John D. Shibe, part owner of the Athletics. Shibe signed the contract with Gomez and all the legendary MLB players of the 1934 All-American All-Star team, including Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, and Lou Gehrig.

It is understood that this was the compensation that the majority (if not all of the players received for playing on the 1934 Tour of Japan Baseball team); that it would make sense that most of the players would have discarded their contracts after the Tour as they received no actual financial compensation (as per the tax codes at that time).  They would have no reason to save it; thus making this the only SURVIVING contract to surface (to date).

We can not stress the rarity and significance of this Historic contract!

*NOTE* - not for sale

Item: 13245

Price: $2.00
1934 Lefty Gomez Signed Tour Of Japan Baseball Contract – The Only One Known