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    The Babe turns over a new leaf...

    1922 Babe Ruth Signed New York Yankees Payroll Check. "A man who knows he's making money for other people ought to get some of the profits he brings in," the Babe explained. "Don't make any difference if it's baseball or a bank or a vaudeville show. It's business, I tell you. There ain't no sentiment to it."

    On March 6, 1922, Ruth would get the contract for which he had lobbied, three years at $52,000, the largest sum ever paid to a ballplayer, and a full 40% of the Yankees team payroll. But misfortune would follow the young slugger like a shadow that year. After serving a six-week suspension for illegal barnstorming after the 1921 season, Ruth returned on May 20th to a chorus of boos for a zero-for-four performance. Five days later he'd throw dirt into umpire George Hildebrand's face as the pair argued a call, then climb into the stands to confront a heckler. Again, Ruth was suspended, and stripped of the Yankee captaincy he'd been granted at the start of the season.

    Despite the abridged service of their top star, the Yankees would repeat as American League Champs, but once again fall to the New York Giants in the World Series, Ruth batting a paltry .118 in the sweep. Weeks later, he was a guest at an Elks Club banquet where New York mayor Jimmy Walker tore into the famed slugger, demanding, "Babe, are you going to once again let down those dirty-faced kids in the streets of America?"

    Sobbing, Ruth vowed to change his ways. "Tomorrow I'm going to my farm," he assured Walker. "I'm going to work my head off, and maybe part of my stomach." True to his word, Ruth would report to 1923 spring training twenty pounds lighter and go on to christen the new baseball palace erected in the Bronx with the franchise's first World Championship and his first and only American League MVP Award.

    Babe Ruth was back.

    The presented payroll check, dated "October 1st, 1922," finds the game's greatest figure at what was arguably the key turning point of his career, just days before the humiliation of a Fall Classic failure that would trigger his glorious rebirth. It's just the second Yankees payroll check issued to Ruth that Heritage has had the privilege to present, and the earliest ever to surface.

    Team co-owners Tillinghast L'Hommedieu Huston and Hall of Famer Jacob Ruppert sign obverse, directing "$9082.49" to "George H. Ruth." Reverse bears the Babe's endorsing signature, applied in 9+/10 blue fountain pen ink beneath an accounting that deducts "$415.80" for medical expenses at St. Vincent's Hospital. Ruth had his tonsils and adenoids removed early in 1922 at St. Vincent's, the likely reason for this itemization. Bank stamping dates to Game One of the 1922 World Series. General handling and storage wear is evident, but there are no distractions of any consequence. Full LOA from PSA/DNA. Full LOA from James Spence Authentication.

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    Auction Dates
    February, 2016
    20th-21st Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 14
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