Babe Ruth 1932 New York Yankees player contract where Ruth takes a pay cut signed during the Great Depression sold for $295,531. The four-page American League uniform player’s contract signed “George Herman Ruth,” and dated March 16, 1932. The Depression severely hit baseball revenues—it is estimated that Yankee gate receipts fell 12 to 15 percent during the 1931 season. Ruth’s annual salary of $80,000 for the past two seasons was an irresistible target.
“Ruth’s Depression-era contract provided an unprecedented historical look at the Game of Baseball —especially considering Manny Machado’s just signed deal worth $300 million, the richest free-agent contract in baseball history,” said Bobby Livingston, Executive VP at RR Auction. “It’s a classic power struggle between owner and player—and each contract providing its telling and unique tale.”
Ruth eventually settled for $75,000 a year, plus 25 percent of the net receipts from Yankee exhibition games. “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,” added Livingston. Among other player contracts; Lou Gehrig’s 1935 New York Yankees Contract for Gehrig’s first season as Yankee captain sold for $183,500, and Christy Mathewson 1902 New York Giants Contract sold for $68,481.
Additional highlights from the sale include:
- 1933 Goudey #106 Napoleon Lajoie sold for $127,904.
- 1911 T206 White Border near complete PSA-graded set sold for $72,294.
- 1952 Topps Baseball Complete Set of 407 Cards plus 80 Black Back variations with (30) PSA Graded including the Mickey Mantle Rookie sold for $53,758.
- 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle autographed Rookie Card – PSA/DNA MINT 9 sold for $48,871.
RR Auction’s Sports Sale began February 7 and on concluded on February 21.
Founded in 1976, RR is always inviting quality consignments for 24+ annual sales spanning a wide variety of categories, especially their next Sports Auction set for this Fall.