The Earliest Ruth Yankees Check Known!1924 Babe Ruth Signed New York Yankees Payroll Check, PSA/DNA Mint 9. One of the most exciting and desirable Ruth autographs to surface in the collecting hobby in recent memory is this exceedingly rare New York Yankees payroll check, compensating the game's premier slugger for his first two weeks defending the franchise's inaugural World Championship. The surviving examples from the Bambino's fifteen seasons of pinstriped service could be counted on two hands with fingers left over, but none predate the offered specimen, establishing this as arguably the most desirable of that thin supply.
Though Walter Johnson's Washington Senators would deny the Yankees the opportunity to repeat as World Champions, the 1924 campaign would prove to be one of the Babe's finest personally, the only season of his career that he claimed the American League batting title, with an impressive .378 tally. His home run total was once again tops in the Junior Circuit at forty-six, but fellow Hall of Famer Goose Goslin would deny Triple Crown honors with eight more runs batted in.
The check is boldly headlined "The American League Base Ball Club of New York, Inc." and made payable to "George H. Ruth" for the sum of "$4055.36." Team owner Jacob Ruppert approves the payment with a bold black fountain pen signature at lower right, while Hall of Fame executive Ed Barrow countersigns at left edge. Reverse features typed text noting the pay period, and a rather sizeable deduction, almost certainly for expenses incurred during Ruth's typically boisterous spring training exploits. The legendary slugger begins to endorse the check below but stops as the fountain pen malfunctions, dropping down to complete his attempt at a rare and flawlessly rendered "George H. Ruth" exemplar.
The enormous generosity of the game's greatest figure has served the modern hobby well, and it's a testament to the Babe's continued supreme baseball relevance that prices for his autograph continue to climb despite the widespread availability. But this is no ordinary Ruth autograph. Signed photos and baseballs abound, but documents directly relating to his service to the team he redefined as America's premier sports franchise are few and far between. Truly educated collectors, and those with particularly refined tastes, will see the distinction. Encapsulated by PSA/DNA, Mint 9. Full LOA from James Spence Authentication.
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