One of the Earliest Known Babe Ruth Signed Payroll Checks - October 1, 1922; Cashed by Ruth on October 4, 1922 - The First Game of the 1922 World Series! PSA Encapsulated Authentic
One of the foremost signed Babe Ruth collectibles is an endorsed payroll check typically issued to the illustrious Bambino on a bi-monthly basis. Unlike the myriad of standard Babe Ruth written checks from his own checking account, New York Yankees payroll checks issued to Ruth are few and far between, as well as significantly more valuable. Presented here just happens to be one of the most momentous and earliest known of all Babe Ruth payroll checks, an extraordinary October 1, 1922 keepsake that accounts for Ruth's Yankees salary from September 15th - October 1st, with the Yankees 1922 A.L. Pennant-winning regular season ending on October 1st with a 6-1 loss in Washington. Payable to "George H. Ruth" in the amount of $9,082.49, in typical fashion it has been signed by legendary Yankees team Owner/President Colonel Jacob Ruppert in the lower right section as well as Co-Owner & Treasurer Tillinghast Huston in the ''Counter-signed" left region (Huston co-owned the Yankees w/Ruppert from 1915-1923). The salary was drawn from the Yorkville Bank of New York, with the verso revealing the hallowed "George H. Ruth" endorsement signature penned in standard black fountain ink.
The regal-like Ruth autograph stands at roughly "8" strength, and while the banks cancellation holes were placed within the area of the "George H." text, the "Ruth" portion of the script remains unscathed. Overall, the entire signature still emulates stupendous eye appeal, with a detailed breakdown of the final $9,082.49 payable amount typed directly above Ruth's script. It appears that the Yankees deducted $415.80 from the original $9,498.29 for medical related expenses relating to Dr. O'Connell and St. Vincent's Hospital. Interestingly enough, a majority of Ruth's checks (both from his own checking account as well as his payroll checks) are signed "G.H. Ruth", with this monumental offering providing an ultra-obscure "George H. Ruth" script. Of utmost significance is the October 1, 1922 payroll date that, to the best of our knowledge, places this offering as one of the earliest known Babe Ruth payroll checks extant. Indeed, most of the few existing Ruth payroll checks are from the later 1920's thru mid-1930's, and if that doesn't quinch your thirst, consider that the "Sultan of Swat' actually cashed this check on October 4, 1922 - three days after it was issued and the day of the FIRST GAME of the 1922 World Series between the Yankees and their cross-river rival New York Giants... wow!
Indeed folks, the check's verso clearly reflects an "October 4, 1922" bank stamp, meaning "The Babe" made a pitstop to the New York based bank the morning of October 4, 1922 before continuing on to the Polo Grounds for the game one opener. The Yankees 94-60 record would earn them the American League Pennant, and they would once again face off against John McGraw's Giants in a highly-touted World Series rematch. McGraw's Giants had defeated the Yankees in the previous 1921 Fall Classic, and after besting the Yanks on October 4th by a 3-2 score in game one, the Giants would once again best the Yankees in an uneventful five games. That 1922 campaign would see legendary baseball commissioner Judge Landis suspend the Bambino for the first six weeks due to Ruth violating the MLB off-season barnstorming policy. That ultimately led to Ruth playing in only 110 games, with "The Babe" still swatting 35 round-trippers, posting a formidable .315 batting average, and leading the Junior Circuit with a spectacular 1.106 OPS. Unfortunately for Ruth, he would bat a dismal .118 in the World Series with no homers and only a single R.B.I., succumbing to the assortment of "junk" and "tantalizing" pitches the clever McGraw would have his hurlers serve up to the great Bambino.
The overall condition of the check is outstanding, atypically eluding any of the standard tears, heavy creases or staining commonly evident on these highly coveted thin-stock treasures. Of course, regarding Ruth's immense salary demands, some seven years later after his 1929 contract expired, "The Babe" would sign his exalted 1930/1931 two-year contract for a whopping record $80,000 per year! Who could ever forget reporters questioning him about the fact that he was now making more money than the American President, Herbert Hoover. In typical Ruthian fashion, he quickly responded: "I had a better year than the President"- an iconic quote stemming from the fact that Hoover was America's President during the height of the Great Depression. This unique 1922 Babe Ruth payroll check, however, is our primary focus, and its coupled October 1, 1922 issue date places it as one of the earliest known of all Babe Ruth payroll checks on the planet. Furthermore, considering the "Sultan of Swat" cashed it the morning of October 4, 1922 right before he joined his Yankee teammates at the Polo Grounds for game one of the 1922 Fall Classic, it is bursting with historical significance. Completely intact and effectively transcending time back to the majestic Ruth's early Yankees playing days, it truly resides as one of the most important and valuable of all existing Babe Ruth payroll checks!
MIN BID $5,000