One year before Babe Ruth was sold to the New York Yankees in a deal that may or may not have cursed the Boston Red Sox for the rest of the 20th century, he signed a contract with those same Red Sox in 1918. On Saturday that contract sold for $1.02 million at auction.
Darren Rovell of ESPN reports that the price tag is the highest ever for a sports contract at an auction.
The contract was signed by Ruth, American League president Ban Johnson and Red Sox owner Harry Frazee, who famously agreed to sell Ruth to the New York Yankees in December 1919.
The $1.02 million winning bid Saturday night represents the highest price ever paid for a sports contract, surpassing the record previously held by the document that sent Ruth to the Yankees, which sold for $996,000 in 2005.
Worth noting, of course, is the fact that the contract paid Ruth a whopping $5,000. That means that the best player in baseball at the time, a guy who blasted home runs and pitched, was paid only a tiny fraction of what his contract sold for years later.
The auction took place at the Sports Legends Museum in Baltimore. Rovell also notes that the auction was held this weekend to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Ruth’s big league debut.
While this amount of money seems excessive on the surface, it is pretty cool to think that there is still an original document with Ruth’s signature on it when we have reached the point that he played in the big leagues 100 years ago. So hey, good on whichever citizen had that kind of money to spend on this cool item.