The Most Important Document In Sports History, The Contract Selling Babe Ruth From The Red Sox To Yankees
New York, New York - On Friday, June 10th, 2005 Sotheby's and SCP offered more than 350 lots of Important Sports Memorabilia and Cards, spanning the history of baseball, basketball, football, boxing, tennis and track & field.
The Babe Ruth Contract
By 1918, the Red Sox had won their fifth World Series, which was unprecedented at that time. One of their talented young pitchers was George Herman Ruth, most often referred to as "The Babe" or "The Bambino," who was also blossoming as a slugger with his home run hitting records.
In 1919, the Red Sox owner Harry Frazee found himself financially strained and signed this contract selling Babe Ruth from the Red Sox to the Yankees on December 26, 1919, for $100,000 to New York owner Jacob
Ruppert. The deal wasn't announced until January, when Ruth found out about the trade himself ten days later.
On January 5, 1920, Boston Globe journalist John Hallahan wrote: "Boston's greatest baseball player has been cast adrift." He continued, "George H. Ruth, the middle initial apparently standing for 'Hercules,' maker of home runs and the most colorful star in the game today, became the property of the New York Yankees yesterday afternoon."
The sale of Ruth to the Yankees changed the sports world forever. Ruth, baseball's first great slugger and the most legendary athlete of his time, captivated the public and reignited America's love affair with baseball.
The Yankees, who had never won the World Series prior to acquiring Ruth, went on to win a record 26 World Championships and 39 pennants, an unparalleled feat, and have become the preeminent sports team in the world.
Conversely, the Red Sox had never won a World Series since their sale of Babe Ruth until last year, widely attributed to "The Curse of the Bambino," their fate for dealing away baseball's greatest player.
Signed by both Frazee and Ruppert, this five-page contract is the most significant document in sports history. It is being offered by Rhode Island philanthropist Alan Shawn Feinstein and is expected to bring more than half a million dollars. Mr.
Feinstein, speaking on behalf of the Feinstein Foundation, said: "The funds raised from the sale, less taxes, will go towards our annual effort to raise $1 million to help fight hunger.
The Foundation has raised over $250 million for over 2,000 agencies throughout the country in the past eight years, and we will continue to raise money until we reach the $1 billion mark. The proceeds will feed a tremendous number of people."
1936 New York Yankees signed Lou Gehrig Contract
Second only to 1927 in the legacy of Lou Gehrig's career is his 1936 campaign when he won baseball's highest honor, capturing the league MVP award and helping the Yankees win their fourth consecutive world championship. Included in the December
2004 sale was his 1936 New York Yankees signed Contract, which entitled Gehrig to an annual salary of $31,000. Dated January 15, 1936, the contract
was sold for an estimated USD $50/65,000. A Historic July 4, 1939 Lou Gehrig Day Plaque
was also sold. On July 4, 1939 Lou Gehrig delivered arguably the most famous speech ever uttered by an American athlete. He thanked his teammates and the fans for their support, and in return, Gehrig's teammates presented him with a trophy inscribed with a poem written by John Keiran. The present item is one of the plaques commemorating Lou Gehrig Day that the makers of Gehrig's trophy produced as keepsakes for the players. Estimated to sell for $4/6,000, it is one of only a handful that have ever surfaced on the public market.
Babe Ruth's 1920 Signed Game Used Bat
Babe Ruth's Signed Game-Used Bat from his first season as a New York Yankee in 1920, used in a face-off between the Yankees and the Chicago White
Sox, will also highlight the sale. Signed by Ruth to Mayor William "Big Bill" Thompson of Chicago on September 17, 1920, it is one of only a handful of game-used bats signed by Ruth and is estimated to sell for $150/200,000.
An exceptional one-sheet of the only known surviving copy of the spectacular Babe Ruth poster for Play Ball, circa 1929 from the collection of Ira M. Resnick which sold for $96,000 against an estimate of $50/70,000.