Players who sign autographs for appearance money and sometimes get in trouble is not a modern phenomenon. Even Babe Ruth had a legal run-in over an event in California just before the Yankees’ storied 1927 season.
The Babe was famous for spending his off-season traveling around the world, playing in exhibitions, making appearances for his sponsors and spreading some baseball goodwill.
In January of ’27, Ruth stopped in Long Beach, California for a “show”. He’d tell a few stories, bring kids up on the stage with him and offer a few batting tips, then leave them smiling by signing a baseball as they left the stage.
A local government official with a little too much time on his hands decided Ruth’s efforts were somehow in violation of child labor laws and right in the middle of one of the Babe’s chats, in came the police.
The L.A. Times recalls one of the weirder times in the Babe’s career.