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December 26: The “Jew” Who Sold Babe Ruth

December 26, 2014

BabeRuthHarry Frazee, a theater impresario who became owner of the Boston Red Sox in November, 1916, sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees for $100,000 on this date in 1919. It was one of several deals Frazee made that dismantled the Boston team, which had won the 1918 World Series, their fifth championship in fifteen years, and would not win again until 2004. In the 1919 season, Ruth had set the single-season home-run record with 29 (no one else in baseball hit more than 10), while batting .322, leading the league in RBIs, and amassing a 9-5 pitching record. Frazee, who sold the Red Sox in 1923 for $1.15 million, was pilloried in the press, particularly as he continued to produce plays, some successful, after his destruction of the Red Sox. In September, 1921, an article in Henry Ford’s Dearborn Independent, “How Jews Degraded Baseball,” falsely identified Frazee as Jewish and lambasted him and real-life Jews in the Broadway theater business. The article served to intensify the vilification of Frazee, who was, in fact, descended from a long line of Presbyterians. He was also a Freemason (who were widely associated with Jews in the minds of anti-Semites), and an active friend of the anti-Semitic aviator Charles Lindbergh.

“Every non-Jewish baseball manager in the United States lives between two fears, and they are both describable in the Biblical term ‘the fear of the Jews.’ The first fear concerns what the Jews are doing to baseball; the second fear concerns what the Jew would do to the manager if he complained about it. Hence, in spite of the fact that the rowdyism that has afflicted baseball, especially in the East, is all of Jewish origin — the razzing of umpires, hurling of bottles, ceaseless shouting of profane insults; in spite of the fact that the loyalty of players had to be constantly guarded because of the tendency of individual Jewish gamblers to snuggle up to individual players; in spite of the evidence that even the gate receipts have been tampered with — the managers and secretaries of baseball clubs have been obliged to keep their mouths closed...” —The Dearborn Independent (click here for complete article)