Baseball Bling

World Series Rings

It’s Spring!  Spring is the season when young men and die-hard Chicago Cubs fans turn to the annual renewal of America’s Pastime – Baseball!  Die-hard Cubs fans have an added degree of hope this season as, according to the Back to the Future movie franchise, 2015 is the year that their annual exercise in futility comes to an end and the Cubs finally will win the World Series!  That means on Opening Day 2016, the Cubs will pass out their Championship Rings to their players!

While that may or may not really happen, if it does it will continue a tradition that goes back almost a century.  The first World Series championship ring was created for the New York Giants in celebration of their victory over the New York Yankees in 1922 (Trivia:  the Giants won 4 games to 0 that also included a tied game!).  Before that, awards included other types of jewelry such as watch fobs, pendants, and lapel pins. The rings were very simple in 1922.  They didn’t even catch on as a tradition until 1926.

1922 NY Giants World Series Ring
1922 NY Giants World Series Ring

As you would expect, as time progressed, the rings became more elegant.  In 1977, the rings finally looked like “bling”.  The world champion New York Yankees had their rings done with the Yankees’ famous “NY” logo dressed up entirely in diamonds.

Florida Marlins 2003 World Series Ring
Florida Marlins 2003 World Series Ring

As time progressed, the rings became more and more “blingy”.  Finally the world champion 2003 Florida Marlins went so far over top it probably would have set a world’s high jump record.  According to Sports Business Daily, the Marlins’ ring weighed in at 110 grams (that’s almost ¼ of a pound), was made from two different shades of gold, contained 228 diamonds, 13 rubies, and a rare teal diamond as the eye of the Marlins’ logo.  The ring is approximately three times the size of any other ring.

Since then, rings have scaled back their “blinginess”.  The trend now is playfulness – a subtle wink or an inside joke etched into the ring.  The St. Louis Cardinals put a tiny image of their “Rally Squirrel” into their 2011 ring.  It can be see scampering in full stride cut into the 14 Karat white gold.

The 2013 Boston Red Sox opted for bling on the top of their ring with ruby red socks as their logo, then had a logo of facial hair with the words “Bearded Brothers” etched into the inner band befitting their mocking of their arch-rival New York Yankees who, under corporate policy, had to be clean shaven.

1973 Oakland A's World Series Ring
1973 Oakland A’s World Series Ring

Not all the rings have bling to them.  After excessive criticism by the players of the 1973 Oakland Athletics towards owner Charlie O. Finley (no stranger to controversy), Finley paid them back by giving the players a ring exactly like the ring they had been given after their 1972 World Series champions without a diamond.  Reggie Jackson, one of the greatest players of all time and nicknamed Mr. October for his heroics in the playoffs, called the ring “trash”.  Another player was quoted as saying, “it’s got to be the worst World Series ring in history”.

All of the World Series rings awarded since 1922 can be seen at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.  For those who don’t want to make the trip, each ring can also be seen at .

Some final World Series ring trivia for you:

  • This year’s ring for the 2014 world champion San Francisco Giants is being made by Tiffany & Co.
  • Other awards other than rings that were given out to players besides rings included jewelry boxes, cigarette cases, and shotguns!
  • Lou Gehrig, the “Iron Horse” of the New York Yankees, owned so many World Series rings that he attached them all to a single bracelet, along with other gems from his playing career, and presented it to his wife, Eleanor, on September 29, 1937. As fourth anniversary presents go, good luck topping that!
1977 New York Yankees World Series Ring
1977 New York Yankees World Series Ring

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