RR Auction has launched its latest major catalog sale, one that features what it says is the most significant collection of history-making player contracts ever offered.
Among those up for grabs: a 1932 New York Yankees contract where Ruth takes a pay cut signed amidst the Great Depression. It dates to the legend of Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert asking Ruth to accept the club’s $70,000 offer as it was more than the salary afforded President Hoover. The Babe is said to have replied, “Hell, I had a better year than Hoover,” or words to that effect.
Ruth eventually settled for $75,000, signing in front of reporters and photographers gathered in Florida for spring training. “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,” said Bobby Livingston, Executive VP at RR Auction.
The Babe may have settled for $75,000 for his 1932 efforts but when bidding concludes later this month, that same contract is expected to sell for at least $200,000.
Also up for grabs in the auction are contracts signed by Lou Gehrig (1935, his first season as Yankee captain, est. $200,000+); Christy Mathewson (1902 New York Giants, signed at the end of his first full season est. $75,000+), Ted Williams (1960 Boston Red Sox, his final season; est: $75,000+), and Mickey Mantle (1953, est.$50,000+).
Multiple Ruth signed items and a remarkable two-page, hand-signed letter and photo from Ty Cobb to a fan disputing the nature of his famous slide into Frank Baker are also part of the auction. There are 600 different lots in all.
Baseball card singles, lots and sets on the block include a 1933 Goudey Nap Lajoie PSA 8 (est. $100,000+); a 1933 Goudey Sport Kings Ruth SGC 8 (est. $15,000+), several W600 Sporting Life cabinets, a complete 1952 Topps baseball set of 407 plus 80 Black Back variations (est. $40,000), a near T206 set with 32 graded cards (est. $50,000+); a 1953 Bowman Mantle PSA 9 (est. $40,000+); a 1969 Topps Mantle white letters variation SGC 8.5 (est. $20,000+), dozens of complete vintage sets, Hall of Fame singles and lots and autographed vintage cards.
The auction will conclude on February 21 at rrauction.com.