There are items that are associated so closely with people or places or events that the mere sight of them immediately can bring famous quotes to mind. Collectors will have an opportunity to bid on one such iconic item when baseball legend Babe Ruth 's Signed 1930-31 Contract with the New York Yankees goes on the block Feb. 25-26 in Heritage Auctions
' Platinum Night Sports Catalog Auction in Dallas.
The contract was notable for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the annual salary $80,000 which at the time was an enormous wage, especially for a player who would be 35 years old at the start of the season. Ruth was well known for his playful spirit and supreme confidence, but that bravado stemmed from unmatched production despite his age. When he signed the contract, he had led Major League Baseball in home runs in four consecutive seasons; at the time, he had claimed the home runs crown 10 times (and he added two more before retiring).
With the United States economy mired in the heart of the country 's worst economic depression, signing baseball 's biggest star to such a contract a move that meant a raise of $10,000 per year while many were struggling financially brought about an understandable frenzy of media attention.
"Eighty thousand dollars!" one reporter called out to Ruth as the flashbulbs popped. "That 's more than the President makes!"
Ruth 's response was perhaps the most famous of his life: "I know, but I had a better year than Hoover."
The argument can be made that the contract Jackie Robinson signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 to cross the sport 's color line might be the only such document that equals or exceeds this document 's fame and importance.
Following the two-year term of this contract, Ruth 's salary dipped in 1932 to $75,000, and then to $35,000 for 1934, his final season with the Yankees. The record salary this contract paid him in 1930-31 was the highest paid to a Major League Baseball player until 1949, when another Yankee star outfielder, Joe DiMaggio, earned the sport 's first six-figure salary.
Because of his continued status as one of the game 's all-time greats, his brash personality and the fact that he played for the sport 's most visible team in the nation 's largest media market, Ruth memorabilia is coveted by fans of the Yankees, baseball and sports in general, as well as by shrewd collectors everywhere. While this document, which is housed in a red leather slip case that is embossed with gold, carries a conservative pre-auction estimate of $500,000+, it 's worth noting that two other Ruth documents the paperwork that facilitated the sale of Ruth from the Boston Red Sox to the Yankees and his first professional contract that he signed in 2014 at the age of 19 sold for roughly $1 million each.