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Exhibition Baseball Americana

Babe Ruth’s (1895–1948) New York Yankees auxiliary agreement, February 18, 1921. Courtesy of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum (094.00.00)
National Photo Company. Babe Ruth (1895–1948), second from left, at the White House, December 7, 1921. Reproduction. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (060.00.00)

Mr. Ruth Goes to Washington

This agreement between Babe Ruth and the New York Yankees in 1921 shows that a star player could negotiate financial incentives, such as extra pay to appear in exhibition games and $50 for each home run he hit during the regular season (item 3). That year Ruth claimed one of the greatest seasons anyone ever had, batting .378 with 59 home runs and leading his team to the American League pennant. Afterward, the fashionably dressed Babe met with President Harding, the fan-in-chief.