An Early Baseball Rule Would Have Prevented World Series Winners From Receiving Championship Rings

The idea of a ring in sports has become synonymous with the act of winning. From football to basketball, the championship rings a player earns affects their long-term legacy. In initial MLB days, however, rings were not the measure of a champion. If early baseball rules had been adopted, the ring ceremony would’ve been illegal across the league. 

Did MLB teams always get World Series rings?

We don’t know a lot about what the first World Series winners received, but it likely wasn’t much. Early championship events, lacking television and with limited radio, were informal. The first World Series, won by the Boston Americans, was written off by the Pittsburgh Pirates, who claimed they were still champions despite losing because they played in a real league. 

By 1910, the baseball commission showed its stance on World Series rewards when it banned the winning teams from receiving any mementos. Rings were not yet standard in sports. But something must’ve been given out to warrant the rule. The details, however, are lost in time. 

That 1910 ruling was eventually reversed. By 1922, teams began to reward their champions with a little bit of bling. 

Who gave out the first World Series ring?

Modern championship rings can be obnoxiously elaborate. Although rings are just big enough to fit on one’s finger, massive amounts of information can be hidden in them. The first World Series ring shows that while the jewelry may have gotten more ornate, the design is quite similar to today’s winning bling. 

According to CBS Sports, the 1922 New York Giants were the first team to receive championship rings as a token of appreciation from the owner. The rings were made of 14k gold with a large stone affixed in the middle. The words “Giants Worlds” decorated one side, and “Champions 1922” appeared on the other. After Defeating Babe Ruth and the Yankees, this reward was the least the team could do.

World Series rings became the norm a decade later. As the times change, the rings get more expensive. 

Evolution of the World Series ring

Many of the greatest players in MLB history never got a World Series ring. Others, like the New York Yankees’ Frank Crosetti, won so many as a player and coach that he asked for an engraved shotgun to commemorate his 18th ring. As MLB contracts grow, however, so do the prices of the rings. 

The Chicago Cubs celebrated the end of their 108-year World Series drought by handing out rings with 108 diamonds in them. The Houston Astros nearly doubled that amount with 214 diamonds on $70,000 rings.

The Red Sox celebrated their 2018 win — the fourth in recent years — with a 14-karat white gold ring and 21 rubies forming their famous logo. The team kept mum about the price. But with all of these features, they might’ve exceeded the Astros’ rings. 

As far as who gets rings, it’s all up to the teams. Sometimes, the rings go to anyone who helped the team throughout the season, even those who weren’t on the World Series rosters. Other times, high-profile fans or franchise employees might receive one.

World Series rings serve as a physical reminder of what a team achieved. We can thank baseball for overturning the initial ban and allowing these rings to exist.

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