Babe Ruth New York Yankees
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The Boston Red Sox sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees on December 26, 1919. What an amazing late Christmas gift that turned out to be.

Aaron Case

December 26 is just the day after Christmas, a day to recover from hangovers and food comas, right? Wrong. It’s actually the anniversary of the New York Yankees buying Babe Ruth’s contract from the Boston Red Sox.

The trade wasn’t officially announced until January 5, 1920, but according to the contract transfer form, the deal got started on this day 99 years ago. The Yankees paid $100,000 for Ruth, or ten times the amount of his annual salary at the time.

Harry Frazee, who owned the Sox when the deal went down, said there was no way he could turn down the cash.

“The price was something enormous, but I do not care to name the figures,” he told Boston Globe reporter James C. O’Leary on January 5, 1920. “It was an amount the club could not afford to refuse.”

For Bombers fans, December 26 should mean almost as much as the day preceding it. After all, Ruth brought with him good fortune for the Yankees in the form of an 86-year curse on the Red Sox.

Ruth of course went on to become one of the greatest players of all time with the Bombers. He blasted 714 career home runs (659 with New York), and he led the Yanks to their first four World Series wins.

The Boston Braves welcomed Ruth back to Beantown for the final year of his career in 1935. The 28 games the 40-year-old played that season weren’t enough to break the Curse of the Bambino, though. The Red Sox went championship-less from 1919-2003.

On this day in 2019, Yankees fandom will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Babe Ruth contract sale. If the baseball gods are at all benevolent, they’ll help the Commissioner’s Trophy find its way to the Bronx in 2019 as well.

Freelance editor and writer, and full-time Yankees fan. Originally from Monticello, NY, but now lives in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.