"My Lady Friends" Resulted in Babe Ruth Being Traded

Published on February 1st, 2024 5:10 pm EST
Written By: Dave Manuel

The story about Babe Ruths trade to the New York Yankees. It was 1919, and Babe Ruth had just hit an incredible 29 home runs for the Boston Red Sox.

These were massive numbers at the time - to put it into perspective, Ruth hit 19 more home runs in 1919 than the next closest player.

Ruth was in his mid 20s and was already one of the most electric players in the league. The Red Sox had won the championship the year before, and were setting up to become a dynasty.

Why, then, was Babe Ruth traded to the New York Yankees?


On December 26th, 1919, Boston Red Sox owner Harry Frazee made one of the most infamous deals of all time when he dealt Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees for $125,000.

In his first two years with the Yankees, Ruth would hit a combined 113 home runs - absolutely ridiculous numbers.

The Yankees had gotten the deal of the century, and Frazee would go down as making one of the worst trades in the history of sports.

There were reports that Frazee was balking at paying Ruth $20,000 a year, which is why he was traded.

The truth is likely that Frazee was looking to finance a Broadway musical - specifically, "My Lady Friends", and needed the money.

$125,000 was a princely sum of money at the time - more than enough to get the musical off the ground. Frazee was infatuated with Broadway musicals, and baseball simply wasn't as big back then as it is now.

So, Babe Ruth was traded, and the "Curse of the Bambino" started.


At the time, there was no great outrage at Babe Ruth being traded to the Yankees.

There were no calls for Frazee's head, and nobody burnt their Red Sox jerseys.

Instead, as the legend of Babe Ruth grew, so did the animosity towards Harry Frazee.

At the time, nobody understood just how great Babe Ruth would become.

In addition, the Red Sox had just won the title, and there were reports that Ruth was a disruptive influence in the club house who was demanding too much money to stay with the team.

At the time, the decision to trade Ruth wasn't that controversial - the controversy only grew over time.

Related Articles