Discussion

One man's folly is another's triumph

Originally Published: May 25, 2006
By Rob Neyer | ESPN Insider
In this decidedly unscientific poll, you -- or rather, people somewhat like you -- selected the Red Sox's selling Babe Ruth as the No. 1 blunder in major league history (not counting segregation, which wasn't a choice in the poll).

I don't blame you (and those somewhat like you). Selling the greatest hitter in the game's history just before he entered his prime ... well, there's no way to make that one look real good.

But as I detail in my new book, there was some reasonable doubt about Ruth's ability to make good on his obvious potential. It wasn't unreasonable to think that Ruth might drink or eat himself out of the majors or perhaps drive one of his many fast automobiles off a bridge somewhere. To this day, there's disagreement about whether Red Sox owner Harry Frazee sold Ruth because he needed the money to keep his other business interests afloat or because he simply believed the money -- the $100,000 sale price, plus a huge personal loan from the Yankees' owners -- was worth more than the player. Obviously, things didn't work out for Frazee. But the Red Sox probably would have been bad with Ruth, and the Yankees probably would have been good without him.

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