Of all the details—and there are tons—that come out in Jane Leavy‘s remarkable biography The Big Fella: Babe Ruth and the World he Created, perhaps the most intriguing to Yankees fans comes from a bit of math.

Most followers know that Ruth was sold to the Yankees for $100,000 and an additional $300,000 loan by Yankees owners Jacob Ruppert and Til Huston to Boston owner Harry Frazee. (It wasn’t to finance ‘No, No, Nanette,’ but we’ll get to mythmaking later).

The loan was at 7% interest, which Leavy notes would mean that in six years, the interest payments alone would have exceeded the $100,000 purchase price: effectively, the Red Sox paid the Yankees to take the pitcher-turned-slugger. As Leavy notes, “Talk about cursed.”

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