SI Vault
Leigh Montville
December 18, 1989
Bring on the Brinks truck, boys—Babe Ruth is a free agent
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December 18, 1989

It's Back To The Bambino

Bring on the Brinks truck, boys—Babe Ruth is a free agent

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The agent was on the telephone. He told the general manager that he had the most spectacular offering on the wide-open baseball market of December 1989: Babe Ruth.

" Babe Ruth is dead," the general manager said.

"Not exactly," the agent said. Then he explained. Had the general manager ever heard of time travel? Had he seen any of those Back to the Future-type movies? "It turns out," said the agent, "time travel is real." The Babe was in the agent's office, wearing a pin-striped baseball uniform and complaining of a great hunger. The agent had sent out for food.

"The Babe looks great," the agent said.

"Time travel?" the general manager asked.

The agent said he had been finishing up a few million-dollar contracts for utility infielders when his desk drawers began to open and close on their own. Then the hands on an antique grandfather's clock spun wildly. A flash of light was followed by a puff of smoke. The Babe appeared.

"I was stunned," the agent said. "It must have taken 30 seconds before I found a contract in my desk and gave it to the guy to sign. What a sweetheart. I've represented a lot of players, but the Babe is all class."

The agent said he was looking for a billion dollars a year for his newest client. He said he knew this was going to break all salary records, but records were made to be broken. It was hard even to talk in monetary terms about the Bambino, the Sultan of Swat. This was the gate attraction of all time. A billion dollars was a steal. A billion per year for five years. Guaranteed, of course.

"I know what you're going to ask," the agent said. "You want to know how old he is. Is he the worn-out guy who finished with the Boston Braves, or is he in his prime? Well, he came here straight from the 1927 World Series. He's 32 years old and just hit 60 dingers, knocked in 164 runs and batted .356. He's never been better."

"The 1927 World Series?" the general manager asked.

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