It Was Not Just Babe Ruth


I was recently reading an article about an incident in the distant past of baseball. In 1976 Charlie Finley, the mercurial owner of the Oakland Athletics, attempted to unload a bevy of star players to the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. This was simply purchasing power at its finest as Tom Yawkey and George Steinbrenner opened up their checkbooks.

Then commissioner, Bowie Kuhn, stepped in and halted the sale citing “Best interests of baseball.” At the time there was a nice photo of Joe Rudi in a Sox uniform just before he had to return to Oakland. That brought me back to the yard sale the Red Sox conducted in another age. Started with the transaction that sent Babe Ruth to New York. Nov 2, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Duck boats line up inside of Fenway park prior to the World Series parade and celebration for the Boston Red Sox. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankee dynasty was built on the foundation of Boston Red Sox players and not just Ruth.

Carl Mays had 26 wins for the 1920 Yankees and 27 wins for the 1921 team.

Bullet Joe Bush was sent to NY in 1921 and won 26 games in 1922.

Sad Sam Jones won 23 for Boston in 1921 and then went to NY. Won 77 games in five seasons with NY.

Everett Scott was shipped out after the 1921 seasons and was the Yankees regular SS for the next 4 years.

Herb Pennock left after the 1922 season and was a cornerstone of the NY staff for a decade.

Wally Schang left after the 1920 season and was the Yankees regular catcher for five seasons.

Waite Hoyt left after 1920 and made the Hall of Fame thanks to his NY career.

And Ruth after 1919.

Just look at those pitchers! That was the heart of the NY staff for most of the 1920s and you win with pitching. I’ve read fantasy projections that had the Sox winning several pennants if they didn’t get rid of those players. The thing was they were all in the prime or approaching their prime years.

There were other players like Bob McGraw, Mike McNally, Harry Harper and the productive (for one season) Del Pratt that were also tossed in on some deals, but the targets were always players that were young and proven productive.

The deals were incredibly lopsided as the Sox would receive money and or talent that was not even close. The Sox slide started in 1919 with a losing season and did not stop until the 1930s when Tom Yawkey attempted to purchase a pennant.