From Barry Popil's website: Famous Babe Ruth quote on salary

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sun Jun 9 18:46:17 UTC 2013

Thanks to Barry and Jerry for sharing the cites on the Babe Ruth
salary anecdote.

In 1930 the prominent humorist Will Rogers in his syndicated column
told a joke in which Babe Ruth demanded more money than President
Hoover, but the punchline was different.

[ref] 1930 January 9, Boston Globe, Will Rogers' Dispatch by Will
Rogers, Quote Page 1, Column 1, Boston, Massachusetts.

[Begin excerpt]
They offered Babe Ruth the same salary that Mr Hoover gets. Babe
claims he should have more. He can't appoint a commission to go up and
knock the home runs. He has to do it all himself.
[End excerpt]

In 1947 Arthur Daley , the New York Times sportswriter, told the now
popular anecdote about Babe Ruth's salary demands. The referenced year
for the salary request was 1932 in this version of the tale. This NYT
publication was a few months before Barry's valuable citation.

[ref] 1947 December 16, New York Times, Sports of the Times: Something
About The Babe by Arthur Daley, Quote Page 50, New York.

[Begin excerpt]
When he was holding out for the unprecedented salary of $80,000 for
the depression year of 1932, a friendly sports writer told him he was
silly to make so exorbitant a demand at such a time. "Why, that's more
than Hoover gets for being President of the United States," said the
scribe, thus presenting a seemingly unanswerable argument.

"What has Hoover got to do with this?" demanded the Babe a trifle
indignantly. "Anyway, I had a better year than he did." By golly, he
was right.
[End excerpt]

Please check for typos and OCR errors before use,

On Sun, Jun 9, 2013 at 12:23 PM, Cohen, Gerald Leonard <gcohen at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Cohen, Gerald Leonard" <gcohen at MST.EDU>
> Subject:      From Barry Popil's website: Famous Babe Ruth quote on salary
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Barry Popik's website ( contains extensive information on Am=
> ericanisms and Americana. Below is one of his recent items, which points ou=
> t that, surprisingly, there's no contemporary evidence for Babe Ruth's famo=
> us salary-quote.
> ------Gerald Cohen
> [From]:
> Entry from June 06, 2013
> =93I (Babe Ruth) had a better year than he (President Hoover) did=94
> New York Yankee slugger Babe Ruth (1855-1948) was negotiating a new contrac=
> t with the team during the start of the Great Depression. Yankee ownership =
> believed that Ruth was asking for too much money and reporters pointed out =
> that Ruth was well paid, making more than U.S. President Herbert Hoover. Ru=
> th is said to have replied, =93What the hell has Hoover got to do with this=
> ? Anyway, I had a better year than he did.=94 This line has been cited in p=
> rint since at least 1948, when it was also stated that Ruth signed a two-ye=
> ar contract at $70,000 per season.
> A March 1930 newspaper reported that Ruth had just signed a two-year contra=
> ct with the Yankees for $80,000 a season. Contemporary 1930 citations conta=
> ining the saying appear to be lacking.
> Wikiquote: Babe Ruth<>
> George Herman Ruth (6 February 1895 =96 16 August 1948) was an American Maj=
> or League Baseball player from 1914 to 1935, named as the greatest baseball=
>  player in history in various surveys and rankings. His career record of 71=
> 4 home runs stood for 39 years until surpassed by Hank Aaron with 755 home =
> runs in 1974.
> (...)
> What the hell has Hoover got to do with it? Besides, I had a better year th=
> an he did.
> . Anecdote of his response on being asked how he felt holding out for a sal=
> ary higher than that of the US President, (variously reported as having bee=
> n in 1929 or 1930) as quoted in Baseball: A History of America=92s Game (20=
> 02) by Benjamin G. Rader, p. 134
> . Unsourced variants : Hey, I had a better year than he did.
> . Why not, I had a better year than he did.
> . I know, but I had a better year than Hoover.
> 9 March 1930, Dallas (TX) Morning News, =93I see in The News this morning t=
> hat,=94 pg. 1, col. 8:
> Babe Ruth signs two-year contract with Yankees at $80,000 per season.
> 26 February 1948, Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch, =93The Sportview=94 by Chau=
> ncey Durden, pg. 18, col. 1:
> Some of Ruth=92s sports-writing friends tried to explain to him the hard ec=
> onomic facts of the depression to him. One of them, all but drawing a diagr=
> am for the Big Fellow, pointed out that Ruth was demanding, in the middle o=
> f a depression, more money that Herbert Hoover received as President of the=
>  United States of America. And, relates Tom Meany in his =93Babe Ruth,=94 t=
> he Great Man roared:
> =93What the hell has Hoover got to do with this? Anyway, I had a better yea=
> r than he did.=94
> Just the same the record reveals that Ruth did take a cut, signing a two-ye=
> ar contract at $70,000 per season.
> Posted by Barry Popik
> New York City<
> 6/> =95 Sports/Games<
> gory/C15/> =95 Thursday, June 06, 2013 =95 Permalink<http://www.barrypopik.=
> com/index.php/new_york_city/entry/i_babe_ruth_had_a_better_year_than_he_pre=
> sident_hoover_did/>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

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