It was a day just like today 98 years ago that Harry Frazee, a Theater promoter and co-owner of the Boston Red Sox, in a secret meeting made one of the biggest mistakes in baseball history. Frazee sold the left-handed slugger George Herman Ruth to the Yankees for 100 thousand dollars.
Better known as "Babe", Ruth started his career as a pitcher for the Red Sox, but, due to various players enlisiting in the army during World War I, Boston's manager Ed Barrow decided to use Ruth as a left fielder.
Ruth surprised everyone by slugging 11 homers during the season and leading Boston to a World Series title.
The next season Ruth was used even more as an outfielder and shattered the home run record that year by hitting 29 dingers, but the Red Sox finished in sixth place and stadium assistance fell.
Due to low ticket sales, according to baseball lore, Frazee sold his most valuable player, a 24-year-old outfielder that was one of the most beloved players in baseball at the time that could negotiate a new contract at the end of the following season, to the Yankees so that he could finance the Broadway musical called "No, No, Nanette".
Here is the original contract of transfer:
The trade was not announced until right before the 1920 season began.
Ruth exploded on offense with his new team from the Bronx, smashing 54 homers and getting the first double-digit WAR for a season in the history of the game.
"The Great Bambino" would go on to be MLB's "Home Run King" in 9 of his next 12 seasons in the Big Leagues, helping the Yankees win the first four of their MLB leading 27 World Series championships.
For the next 86 years, the Red Sox weren't able to win a championship despite having great players like Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, Dwight Evans, Jim Rice, Wade Boggs, and Roger Clemens. "The Curse of the Bambino" was so strong the Red Sox invented new ways to lose, making it more and more believable.
Here are some of the most "bitter" moments in Red Sox history:
1946: Ted Williams, a .342 hitter with 38 homers and 123 runs batted in during the regular season, hit for .200 without an extra-base hit during the World Series and the Red Sox lost in seven games against the St. Louis Cardinals.
1975: Carlton Fisk keeps Boston's hopes alive in game six with a walk-off homer against the Reds, in one of the most memorable moments in Red Sox history.
But in game 7, Ken Griffey tied the game and gave the Reds the lead 4-3 thanks to his speed on the basepaths. The last chance would come to one of the Red Sox biggest stars in Carl Yastrzemski, but he hit a fly ball to center field and again the Red Sox saw the World Series title slip through their hands.
1978: The infamous Bucky Dent home run that eliminated the Red Sox from the playoffs.
1986: Or the "between the legs of Bill Buckner" moment in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series that allowed the Mets to tie the series 3-3. The Red Sox would fall again in Game 7 and another title would "slip through their fingers".
2003: The shot by Aaron Boone against Tim Wakefield that sent the Yankees to the World Series.
It wasn't until 2004, thanks to great performances by David Ortiz, Curt Schilling, Pedro Martínez, Manny Ramirez and Dave Roberts, that the Boston Red Sox were able to, finally, win a World Series and with that title they slayed the infamous "Curse of the Bambino".
Since then the Red Sox have won two more titles (2007 and 2013), but nobody can take back the 86 years of suffering the Boston fan base had to endure for their team to raise the championship trophy again.
The Red Sox even had to wait 95 years to win a championship at home in Boston, in their famous Fenway Park when they beat the Cardinals in 2013.
Here is the full story of "The Curse of the Bambino":