Everybody knows the story. He sold Babe Ruth, that’s right the guy sold Babe Ruth! He’s been vilified, denounced and reviled. He’s been “slandered, libeled, he heard words he never heard in the Bible.” But ya know, he sold Babe Ruth!
Harry Herbert Frazee, that’s him, the guy who, you know. A theatrical producer and a very successful one at that; he purchased the World Champion Boston Red Sox from Joseph Lannin on December 4, 1916. The purchase price varies according to source but it was for somewhere in the $675,000 range.
I’m jumping ahead, but the story goes that Harry wanted to finance this play called “No No Nanette” (sounds pretty sexy doesn’t it?) Well as myth would have it, he needed the cash to do so, so he sold Babe Ruth! YIKES! Thus capturing the capital for this great venture. He received a cool 125K for the “Colossus”, the “Mauler”, the “Burley Baterer”, the “Babe”(all nicknames he garnered with the Red Sox, well not Babe.) But, on top of that old Harry got a nifty $350,000 loan from dear old Mr. Ruppert and guess what he used for collateral? Yup, Fenway Park! Can you imagine, the owner of the freaking Yankees actually owned Fenway Park too. I’m not sure, but I think that might be a mortal sin.
Truth is, there’s way more to the story, way more. Some good things about Mr. Harry Herbert Frazee. First, upon purchasing the Boston Red Sox, one of his first orders of business was to call Mr. Clark Griffith, the owner of the Washington Senators and offer him $60, 000 for Walter Johnson! Sixty K, more than anyone had ever offered anyone else for a baseball player! Griffith said nope, too bad, but a noble try. Another thing he did was proffer the idea that the 1918 World Series should be taken to France and played there so our troops fighting the Great War could be a part of it! Pretty innovative thinking if you ask me.
Anyway, back to the No No Nanette thing. It opened in Chicago in 1924 and never hit Broadway until 1925. Oh and Harry Frazee, sold the Red Sox to Bob Quinn in 1923. Babe was sold in January of 1920. Doesn’t add up does it?
If you want the whole story check out “The Babe in Red Stockings“.
No not that one…………………………………………………………………………
I promise, you’ll get the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth on the sale of Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees.
And so it was on this date in Fenway Park history, December 4, 1916