I've been conducting a little research project to record the free agent contracts that predate the Doug Pappas salary datai.e., 1976-84to complete a study on the history of free agency.
I started with all the players who amassed at least 10 Win Shares the season before becoming a free agent. Then, I culled the contract data published annually in "The New Millionaires" section of Zander Hollander's "The Complete Handbook of Baseball". Yes, in the early days of free agency, a million-dollar contract was still such a novelty that this pulp-fiction baseball annual actually published them all en masse. Unfortunately, I had just the 1978-80 editions of the "Complete Handbook": Space Invaders and that devil Pac Man ate up too much of early teen cash.
I then researched via the players pages in BaseballLibrary.com and the newspaper research tool on SABR.org. Altogether I was able to unearth 55 contracts though given that many come from newspaper accounts at the time of the signings, their accuracy may be in question.
Anyway, I am publishing what I have for two reasons. The first is so that anyone who could make use of the data can do so. Also, I am hoping that anyone who can fill in the gaps will do so. I am listing the players who met my search criteria but for whom I could not find the contract terms. If you have any of the data for those players (or for ones who didn't meet the 10-WS threshold), please let me know and I'll update the table. I ask that you please cite the source of the data: