On This Day In History | 1920
On this day 92 years ago the Yankees purchased Babe Ruth‘s contract from the Boston Red Sox. Boston’s owner Harry Frazee was in debt and facing a demand from his star pitcher for a $10,000 raise. When Babe Ruth refused to play until he got his desired salary, Frazee decided to trade him. Chicago offered Shoeless Joe Jackson and $60,000 while Yankee owners Jack Ruppert and Tillinghast L’Hommedieu Huston countered with a cash deal of $125,000 which the Red Sox quickly agreed to. Additionally, the Yankees loaned Boston $300,000 with the mortgage to Fenway Park as collateral. The deal was initially proposed on December 26th and was finalized ten days later. On January 6th The Boston Globe quoted Frazee:
I should have preferred to take players in exchange for Ruth, but no club could have given me the equivalent in men without wrecking itself, and so the deal had to be made on a cash basis. No other club could afford to give me the amount the Yankees have paid for him, and I don’t mind saying I think they are taking a gamble. With this money the Boston club can now go into the market and buy other players and have a stronger and better team in all respects than we would have had if Ruth had remained with us.
Frazee’s prophecy could not have been more off base. The trade would propel the Yankees to a dynastic rule over baseball and would leave Boston with “The Curse of the Bambino” as they went without a championship for 86 years after trading Ruth.