On Dec. 26, 1919, Babe Ruth’s contract was famously sold by Boston Red Sox owner Harry Frazee to the New York Yankees. It was a transaction that forever altered the history of both franchises and served as the basis of the “Curse of the Bambino,” which only gained more steam as the Red Sox World Series drought grew and finally ended 86 years (1918-2004).
Ruth was actually one of 17 players that were sold by Frazee to the Yankees between December 1918 and July 1923. Only his sell of the team all together stopped him. It's believed the moves were made to pay off debts and finance future play productions, but odds are we'll never know if that's the entire story.
Regardless of the hows and why, it's obviously one of the most historic and important decisions made in MLB history. And thanks to MLB Fan Cave, we can take a look back at some of the details surrounding the transaction by viewing the contract that made the sell official.
The typed paragraph reads:
By herewith assigning to the party of the second part of the contract of said player George H. Ruth for the season of 1919, 1920 and 1921, in consideration of the sum of Twenty-five thousand and ($25,000.) Dollars cash and other good and valuable considerations paid by the party of the second part, receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged.
Typos were much less handy to fix in those days.
As Nina Mandell pointed out over at For The Win, perhaps the most fascinating thing about the contract is that all the details seem to be covered in one page. That would never be the case in today’s incentive and stipulation filled world. Heck, even in those much simpler days a one-page contract may have been pretty rare, which makes it stand out as a unique feature to a historic baseball item.
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