Read Jane’s op-ed in the New York Times on the sale, at the end of 1919, that changed baseball â€” and New York City â€” forever:
One hundred years ago on Christmas Day, typically the slowest news day of the year, George Herman Ruth Jr. knew there would be a news hole to fill. He excelled at filling space, with his girth, his personality, his grand and unprecedented home runs, and his sense of himself. By the end of the 1919 season, during which his 29 home runs had reinvented the game of baseball, he had concluded that the three-year contract he had signed that March with the Boston Red Sox for $10,000 a year was not commensurate with his largess.
Decamping for the West Coast for two months of â€œpastiming,â€ as one newspaper put it, Ruth let it be known that he expected the Red Sox owner, Harry Frazee, to double his salary. Answering reporters, Frazee demurred but assured them that Ruth would be â€œtaken care of,â€ commending him as a good businessman who knew his own worth and wanted to be paid for it.
For the next two months, in a daily blitzkrieg of published fulmination, a ballplayerâ€™s only recourse in the era before free agency, Ruth issued daily bulletins rejecting his contract as â€œa scrap of paperâ€ and declaring his intention to return it unsigned, which in a previous interview he said he had already done.December 31, 2019 | New York Times