Babe Ruth’s 1932 Yankees contract sells for nearly $300K

Babe Ruth’s 1932 New York Yankees player contract where Ruth takes a pay cut during the Great Depression sold for $295,531.
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BOSTON – Babe Ruth’s 1932 New York Yankees player contract where Ruth takes a pay cut during the Great Depression sold for $295,531 according to Boston-based RR Auction.

Babe Ruth player's contract

Four-page American League uniform player’s contract, signed “George Herman Ruth,” and dated March 16, 1932. Courtesy of RR Auction

The four-page American League uniform player’s contract, signed “George Herman Ruth,” and dated March 16, 1932. 

Baseball revenues were severely hit by the Depression— it is estimated that Yankee gate receipts fell 12 to 15 percent during the 1931 season. Ruth’s annual salary of $80,000 for the past two seasons was an irresistible target.

“Ruth’s Depression-era contract provided an unprecedented historical look at the Game of Baseball — especially considering Manny Machado’s just signed deal worth $300 million, the richest free-agent contract in baseball history, ” said Bobby Livingston, executive VP at RR Auction

“It’s a classic power struggle between owner and player— and each contract providing its own telling and unique tale.”

Ruth eventually settled for $75,000 a year, plus 25 percent of the net receipts from Yankee exhibition games.

“It was the first time in Ruth’s long career—since the day in 1914 when he signed for $600 per season—that he had ever taken a cut in pay,” Livingston added.

Among other player contracts; Lou Gehrig’s 1935 New York Yankees contract for Gehrig’s first season as Yankee captain sold for $183,500, and Christy Mathewson’s 1902 New York Giants contract sold for $68,481.

Other auction highlights

Addition highlights from the sale include, but are not limited to:

  • 1933 Goudey #106 Napoleon Lajoie sold for $127,904.
  • 1911 T206 White Border near complete PSA graded set sold for $72,294.
  • 1952 Topps Baseball complete set of 407 cards plus 80 Black Back variations with (30) PSA Graded including the Mickey Mantle Rookie sold for $53,758.
  • 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle autographed Rookie card sold for $48,871.

More details can be found online at www.rrauction.com.

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