It was money well spent for the Yankees–the start of a long winless drought for the Red Sox.
Historic Auctions will open bidding next week on one of only two known checks in existence that are directly attributed to the infamous sale of Babe Ruth from the New York Yankees to the Boston Red Sox.
While the contract signed by the two clubs might have symbolically established the details, the transfer of the funds is what finalized perhaps the most historic player move in baseball history.
Red Sox owner Harry Frazee, facing financial woes, decided to sell his star player to the Yankees for $125,000 in cash and a $300,000 loan. The deal was signed In late December 1919 and announced early in 1920.
The check is dated February 4th, 1922 and is payable to the "Boston American League Baseball Club." It is for the amount of $50,000, signed by George Ruppert and also endorsed by Yankees’ co-owner Tillinghast L’Hommedieu Huston.
It is also endorsed on the reverse by Frazee with a flowing blue fountain pen and reads “Boston American League Baseball Club by HH Frazee, Prest.” The check has been authenticated and encapsulated by PSA/DNA. The PSA/DNA label reads “Sale of Babe Ruth to NYY” and also indicates the authenticity of Ruppert and Frazee.
By signing the aforementioned contract, and effectively this check, Frazee sealed his place in history. The sale of Ruth may have temporarily eased Frazee’s financial woes as a Broadway producer, but it would become the "Steal of the Century" for the Yankees, who built their dynasty on the shoulders of a player still considered perhaps the best ever.
The check is part of an auction of nearly 1200 items up for bidding in Historic Auctions’ May 2008 sale. Bidding begins Tuesday, April 29.