Babe Ruth's last baseball contract to sell at Goldin Auctions
The last professional playing contract signed by baseball legend Babe Ruth will be offered for sale at Goldin Auctions next month.
The contract, valued at $400,000+, is one of the star lots in the company's summer auction of historic sports memorabilia, and marks the final chapter in Ruth's remarkable playing career.
After more than a decade with the New York Yankees, Ruth's on-field career began to wind down in 1934, and he had one thing on his mind – the manager's position.
However, team owner Jacob Ruppert had no desire to hand Ruth the top job, and wanted to stick with Joe McCarthy, a wise decision which brought the club seven pennants and six World Series titles over the next nine years.
Numerous teams approached Ruth with offers of player-coach roles, knowing that having the Bambino on board would bring in the crowds, whatever his physical condition. In the end Ruth chose a return to Boston, when the Braves owner Emil Fuchs offered him a three-year contract to play left field, serve as the team's assistant manager and vice president.
Ruth signed on for a sum of $25,000 per year, but the situation quickly turned sour. He realized his off-field roles were almost entirely meaningless, and that Fuchs had no intention of ever promoting him to the manager's role he so badly wanted.
On the field, Ruth's age had finally caught up with him, and his statistics took a nose dive. But amongst the poor performances there were still a few diamonds to be found – most notably on May 25th against Pittsburgh when he hit three home runs, including one which cleared the right field roof of Forbes Field, the first time that had ever been done in that ballpark's history. Seven days later he retired from professional baseball.
Bearing the bold signatures of Ruth, Fuchs and witnesses Samuel Silverman, F. Burton Whitman and James O'Leary, the contract is described as "a Cooperstown-worthy part of our National Pastime's greatest player".
The auction house has previously sold two of Ruth's professional contracts for huge sums.
First was Ruth's personal copy of his 1918 Boston Red Sox contract, the last he signed before moving to New York, which sold in July 2014 for $1,007,250; a few weeks later his first Yankees contact, signed in 1922, sold for $537,750.
Goldin Auctions will be hoping for a similar home run result when his Braves contract hits the auction block on August 4.
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