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    The only Ruth contract validated by film footage of the signing!

    1934 Babe Ruth Signed Final New York Yankees Player's Contract with Video Match Documentation! As World War II ground toward its brutal, bloody end, and U.S. soldiers faced the enemy in fierce hand-to-hand combat on the small islands of the South Pacific, the Japanese infantry were often heard to exclaim these few English words they had been taught to repeat, the greatest insult to an American of which they could conceive: "To hell with Babe Ruth!" They knew then what we all understand now. Babe Ruth was the embodiment, the personification, of America.

    The evidence that proves this statement to be true is practically endless. First, of course, we can point to the fact that the Babe is unquestionably the greatest star ever produced by the game of baseball, our National Pastime. But we can also see that his ascension from an orphanage in a poor section of Baltimore, Maryland to the absolute pinnacle of wealth and international fame is the very essence of the American dream. His "Ruthian" appetites for wine, women, song and food are likewise utterly American.

    The round belly and big, smiling face, the way he twirled his cap as he trotted around the bases on those skinny legs after another tremendous home run blast--it's hard to believe he was actually real. Even Don Mattingly, whose retired jersey number joins Ruth's in Yankee Stadium's Monument Park, was confused as a child by the stories of the Babe's exploits, which sounded more like Paul Bunyan-esque folklore than actual historical fact. "Honestly, at one time I thought Babe Ruth was a cartoon character," he insisted. "I really did."

    But even the immortals aren't truly so. As the bold typeface of American League supremacy began in the early 1930's to fall away from a career stat line constructed virtually entirely thereof, the Yankee brass progressively tightened its purse strings upon the highest-paid athlete in world history to date, from the record $80,000 figure that had inspired Ruth to retort when informed he was being paid more than the President of the United States, "I had a better year than he did!" to the very last Yankee covenant we proudly present here, at a figure of $35,000.

    While that lofty tally still remained the highest salary in the entirety of Major League Baseball, the provided document affirming team and player consent to the terms was as much a harbinger of a starkly different future for the New York Yankees as the one that transferred ownership of the twenty-year old pitcher from the Boston Red Sox a decade and a half earlier. That covenant famously commanded $2.3 million a few years ago in its most recent auction appearance.

    Collectors are well-trained to covet firsts and lasts above all else, and this final contract between Babe Ruth and the team he transformed into American sports' most celebrated franchise ranks with the most important pieces of baseball memorabilia in private hands. Babe Ruth's first New York Yankees World Championship award-a gorgeous gold pocket watch that commanded $717,000 in our February 2014 Platinum Night auction-would require a strong seven-figure price to change ownership today. The Babe has always been the safest investment in the hobby.

    But this special document offers something that almost no other high-end Ruth artifact can claim-actual period video documentation. Yes, unbelievably, the execution of this agreement between Hall of Fame owner Jacob Ruppert and Hall of Fame slugger Babe Ruth was captured on film on January 15, 1934, the camera briefly coming in tight to focus upon the signatures of the early Yankee icons. That footage is a perfect match to the offered document.

    And what a beauty it is. The black fountain pen signatures of Ruppert, Ruth and fellow Cooperstown immortal Ed Barrow (then serving as general manager) are unimprovably bold applications. The Babe provides his rare and desirable "George H. Ruth" signature format. We believe it is Barrow who inks the date and "Am League BB Club of NY" text above. Typed text above documents the "pull" Ruth maintained within the organization even in his inevitable veteran slide, promising a portion of the gate of any exhibition games beyond those required by standard Yankee service. A fourth and final Hall of Fame autograph appears on the cover of the document, that of American League president William Harridge.

    The standard four-page "Uniform Player's Contract" bears the imprinted seal of the American League and original storage folds, but no condition faults of any genuine measure. For collectors fully educated in the history of the New York Yankees, and Babe Ruth's incomparable service to that history, this lot represents the opportunity of a lifetime. Full LOA from PSA/DNA.



    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2020
    29th-30th Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 13
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 3,138

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