The trading, buying and selling of players has always had a key role in building better baseball teams, and few things stir the interest and passion of fans so much as a blockbuster trade. The New York Yankees made their first trade on June 10, 1903, dealing Herman Long, a veteran shortstop, and Ernie Courtney, a second-year infielder, to the Detroit Tigers for disgruntled shortstop Kid Elberfeld. Seventeen years later, the Yankees made the most infamous transaction in sports history, purchasing former pitching great and now outfielder Babe Ruth from the Boston Red Sox for a reported $125,000.This work exhaustively chronicles the Ruth purchase as well as the more than 600 additional transactions made by the Yankees. The author sets both the players and the deal in historical perspective, explaining why the Yanks and the other club involved made the deal, what expectations the owners, general managers and managers of the respective teams had for their new players, and, for some, what the players involved thought about their old and new teams. This book corrects many errors in trade dates listed in the encyclopedias and trade registers.
Lyle Spatz of Boynton Beach, Florida, has been chairman of the Society for American Baseball Research's Baseball Records Committee since 1991. He is also the author of McFarland's Bad Bill Dahlen (2004) and New York Yankee Openers (1997, Seymour Medal Finalist).