Spring Fever Auction 2018
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 5/6/2018
Ese Hombre -- That Man -- was Willard Brown’s nickname in Puerto Rico. The outfielder was one of the most feared hitters in the Negro Leagues, but he was an absolute wrecking ball in the Puerto Rican Winter League. He won the Triple Crown twice there, in 1947-48 and 1949-50. In July 1947, Brown got his shot at the majors, as the St. Louis Browns signed him and infielder Hank Thompson from the Monarchs for a reported $5,000 apiece. The Associated Press reported, “Owner Richard Muckerman of the Browns said the two players were signed ‘to help lift the Browns out of the American League cellar.’” The Brownies also had an option on another fine Negro Leaguer, Lorenzo “Piper” Davis. The AP article added that of all the African-American players signed in the year of integration, including Jackie Robinson, “Outfielder Brown was considered to be the prize package of the lot, with only his age against him.”

This rare signed Willard Brown Puerto Rican League contract was from his assault on the Puerto Rican League record books during the prime of his career. During the winter of 1947-48, Brown felt that he had something to prove, and had a simply monstrous Triple Crown season. It may have been at this time that sportswriter Rafael Pont Flores coined the nickname Ese Hombre. Willard hit .432, the fourth-highest single-season mark in Puerto Rican Winter League history. His 27 homers remain far and away the most in one PRWL season; the runner-up is Reggie Jackson, who hit 20 in 1970-71. Finally, his 86 RBIs rank third on the single-season list -- the best total being his own 97, set two winters later. Bear in mind that the PRWL schedule was just 60 games long and the caliber of competition was high. The contract comes authenticated by Beckett.

1948-49 Willard Brown Signed Liga De Puerto Rico Contract (Beckett)
Bidding
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $800.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $980.00
Number Bids: 2
Auction closed on Sunday, May 6, 2018.
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