New Deal Baseball, 1934–1935
BABE RUTH shouldn't have gone to Hawaii. At the end of the 1933 season, Detroit Tigers president Frank Navin was genuinely interested in hiring Ruth to replace Bucky Harris, who'd quit with two games left and the Tigers in sixth place. But the Babe already had a contractual commitment to play a series of exhibition games in Honolulu, so, despite Ed Barrow's warning that he was making a mistake, the Babe left without meeting with Navin. When he finally called Navin from Hawaii (reportedly at 2:00 A.M. Detroit time), the Tigers' president was so irritated that he put off Ruth and two months later acquired Mickey Cochrane to be his playermanager.
That was as close as Ruth would ever come to a managing job. He absolutely refused to manage in the minor leagues (unlike his illustrious contemporaries Walter Johnson and Tris Speaker, both of whom had managed Newark in the International League), and he had no chance of displacing Joe McCarthy as Yankees field boss. Jacob Ruppert and Ed Barrow really didn't know what to do with Ruth, who was still too valuable a property to release outright and too expensive for anybody to buy. After a meeting with Ruppert at his brewery, “Root” (as the Germanic Ruppert always pronounced the Babe's name) seemed reasonably happy to sign for $35,000. That was $45,000 less than he'd been making only three years earlier, but it kept him as the majors' highest-salaried player.
Meanwhile Lou Gehrig, who after a long courtship and engagement had finally married Eleanor Twitchell, again agreed to $23,000. And after