The contract Babe Ruth signed in 1920 to take part in his first foreign barnstorming tour sold for $118,750 Saturday night in an auction of Ruth memorabilia conducted by Goldin Auctions.
After a breakthrough season in which he smashed 54 homers, Ruth was paid $1,000 per game for the 10-game tour with John McGraw’s Giants against Cuban squads. Although the contract was saved, Ruth gambled away his earnings at the casino, race track and Jai Alia before leaving the island. The one-page contract included a photo of Ruth posed with Jai Alia players.
An early wire service photo of Ruth with the Boston Red Sox, first distributed to newspapers in 1915 and carrying a portion of the original caption, sold for $21,250.
Not every lot was strictly Ruth-related however. A photo signed by Ruth and Lou Gehrig to a young bat boy during the 1927 season sold for $37,500 and a 1930-32 Gehrig bat dating from his brief switch from Louisville Slugger to Hanna closed at $30,000 including the buyer’s premium.
A 1927 Yankees team signed ball with 21 autographs including Ruth and Gehrig was purchased for $25,000.