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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 4/30/2016
When the historic trade of Babe Ruth from the Boston Red Sox to the New York Yankees was made in the winter of 1919, the contract which Ruth signed prior to that season also made the trek down to New York. This contract was for three years (1919-1920-1921) and paid Ruth the sum of $10,000 per year for each of those three seasons. When the 1921 season was over for Ruth and the Yankees, all The Bambino brought to New York was two record setting seasons, and helping lead the Yankees to their first ever World Series in 1921. Combined for those final two seasons under the “Red Sox contract,” Ruth has mashed 113 home runs while driving in 308 runners. There was a reason the Yankees outdrew their Polo Ground co-tenants (the New York Giants) by more than 360,000 fans in 1920, and by more than 250,000 in 1921. This outdrawing the Giants was the main reason the Yankees were forced to build their own ballpark, as Giants manager John McGraw didn’t want the Yankees sharing his Polo Grounds after the 1922 season. People gladly paid ever increasing ticket prices to see Ruth take his big swings, hoping to see one of his titanic shots into the right field bleachers. And whether he whiffed through the ball with his big swing, or mashed one into orbit, the Babe rarely disappointed the fans. Ruth knew why the fans rang the turnstiles – it was due to him, and he wanted to be handsomely paid for his services, which helped the Yankees win, but more importantly also put extra money in the pockets of Yankee co-owners Cols. Jacob Ruppert and Tillinghast Huston. So when Ruth's holdover contract with the Boston Red Sox had expired after the 1921 season, he knew it was his time to strike the Deal of the Century. Rumors stated he would be given $30,000 with bonus clauses valued close to $20,000. It was rejected by Ruth. The Yankees then offered him $40,000, and Ruth once again rejected that “low ball” offer. Ruth was always sharp and astute when it came to his contracts. He responded to criticism of his demands with solid financial logic. Ruth said, “A man ought to get all he can earn. A man who knows he's making money for other people ought to get some of the profit he brings in. Don't make any difference if its baseball or a bank or vaudeville show. Its business I tell you. There ain't no sentiment to it. Forget that stuff.” Ruth also knew a baseball player’s earnings period was finite. And there were not any private single signings at the time where promoters could sell Ruth signed baseballs. Baseball was it right now for Ruth, and he needed to make as much as he could. After some lull in the negotiations, Col. Huston then offered the unprecedented sum of $50,000 per year for three seasons with two option seasons. Although this annual amount was more to Ruth's liking, he demanded $52,000. After much discussion and still no agreement the Babe offered a coin toss to determine the salary figure. Col. Huston was all for it but asked that Ruth wait until he had a chance to run it by his partner, the co-owner and President of the Yankees Colonel Jacob Ruppert, who readily agreed to this unusual “negotiation” tactic. When Ruth returned to Col. Huston’s hotel room, a coin was flipped, and Ruth bellowed “TAILS!” Tails it was and Ruth received his $52,000 per season. When asked why he had demanded $52,000 per season, Ruth responded, “Well, there are 52 weeks in a year, and I've always wanted to make a grand a week.” This amount was three times what any other player received; a testament to Ruth’s growing popularity and drawing power. Even after Ruth retired more than a decade later, the highest paid player in baseball was Lou Gehrig with a $30,000 salary. The standard “Uniform Players Contract” is between the “American League Base Ball Club of New York” and “George Herman Ruth,” with an option for two renewal years at the same rate “provided that the player shall be in good physical condition and fit to render services.” This was always an issue with the fun loving Ruth, who liked the ladies, the booze and the late nights…and in no particular order. The Yankees also added this unique addendum: “that the player …refrain entirely from the use of intoxicating liquors and that he shall not during the training and playing season in each year stay up later than 1 o’clock A.M. on any day with the permission and consent of the club’s manager.” Yeah, good luck with that. The date of “March 10, 1922” and bold, black fountain pen signatures of “Jacob Ruppert and “George Herman Ruth” are on their respective lines, grading solid (“9/10”) in strength, although the Ruth signature has light smear through the “H” in his middle name. Ruppert’s signature also appears on the “Regulations” page, while “Form 1922” has the signature of American League President “Ban Johnson” (“8/10”), with the sate stamp of “APR 4 -1922.” At the top of this page is written “Ruth – 1922 – 23 – 24” and Ruth’s name written in another hand on the player line. Overall condition is Excellent to Mint with the usual mailing folds, and light edge wear. This is a highly presentable one of a kind Ruth document, which would display very well and is in tremendous overall condition. This contract set the stage for Ruth’s glorious Yankee career, and is the first official document signed between Babe Ruth and the New York Yankees for the slugger’s powerful services. After Ruth signed this contract, the Yankees won another American League title, before winning their first World Series title during the 1923 season in their brand new ball yard; which was certainly no coincidence. This is a museum quality artifact, the perfect highlight for the high end Yankee or Ruth collection. Full LOA from PSA/DNA (V05295).
1922 Babe Ruth New York Yankees Contract – His First Ever Yankee Signed Contract! Three Year Contract Covering First Yankees World Championship 1923 (PSA/DNA)
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $250,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $537,750.00
Estimate: $750,000+
Number Bids: 9
Auction closed on Sunday, May 8, 2016.
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