The New York Yankees have won the most World Series (27) in MLB history. Though, while the presentation of a ring is common in todays sporting world, the Yankees have only awarded 26 rings to their players.
This week we go year-by-year and showcase each team and what the players were rewarded for each World Series win.
1949 World Series
We have a new ring design! And new features! And a new designer! For the first time since the Yankees had their first ring made in 1927 by Dieges & Clust, they went to a new ring designer in 1949 for their 12th World Series championship (and 11th ring): the L.G. Balfour Company.
Balfour kept the ring face very much the same with the words “NEW YORK YANKEES” and “WORLD CHAMPIONS” surrounding a top with a wreath around a figurative baseball diamond and a genuine diamond in the middle. However, the shank gave way to the eagle design that they also used since 1927. They moved the year “1949” to the top of the shank, in a nice bold font above the New York Yankees “Hat and Bat” logo which stand out strikingly against the background design. Both shafts are identical in design.
Another change came with Balfour as they molded the ring in ten-karat gold, which was a change from the previous Yankees rings that were crafted in fourteen-karat gold by Dieges & Clust.
1950 World Series
The ring you see above is not a players ring, though it is modelled the same as the 1950 World Champion players ring. Instead, this is a lady’s ring that would’ve gone to the wife of a player on the team. (Unfortunately, no player rings from 1950 have gone for auction.)
On the 1950 ring there were a few changes that should be noted. First of all, the shank had another update as they went away from the very intense linear background from 1949 and instead opted for a more classical and more pleasing leaf design. The main elements of the moving the year “1950” and the use of the hat and ball logo stayed the same. The other change is that while again made by the L.G. Balfour Company, these rings were molded in fourteen-karat gold again.
As we’re going through the various types of rings the Yankees have given out in their history, it is nice we had an opportunity to showcase the extra models that went to people other than the players. Remember, behind every strong man is a strong woman.
1951 World Series
There is nothing special about the 1951 World Championship ring. Everything about it (except for the year) is the same as the 1950 ring.
1952 World Series
Can you notice what is different about this ring as opposed to the 1950 or 1951 rings? I’ll spoil the surprise, but on the ring above that is not a real diamond. But before you think the Yankees were being extra cheap in the middle of a dynastic run of World Championships, I’ll spoil your anger and let you know that the players still got a ring with a genuine diamond in the figural baseball diamond (I’m using that phrase whenever I can now). And before you try to guess if this went to a front office/coach/other person in the organization, stop now.
The ring above is the closest example to the 1952 ring that has been auctioned. What you see is the salesman sample ring of what would end up being the 1952 design. In other words, this was a mock-up ring provided to the Yankees before final approval and the casting of the official sets of rings.
1953 World Series:
Now, this is a ring. While mostly symbolic for the “October Twelve” players who were on all 5 of the Yankees teams that won 5 World Series in a row from 1949-1953, this ring is special.
For the first time, the Yankees really looked to make a ring that was special to one particular year (as is the modern practice). While the shanks stayed mostly the same, this time adding the year “1953”, the main point of difference is very obvious on the ring face.
They removed the figural baseball diamond! And, while that does upset me for the small joke of that phrase that I’ve adopted, it was a great stylistic choice. Instead, the Yankees issued the ring with a large number 5 on the ring face with a big diamond in the middle. This was a bold choice by the Yankees, and I think they did it right.
In the history of Yankees World Series rings, this was easily the best design they had gone with. How could anyone pass this up?
You’ve got to be kidding me.
Remember how I noted at the beginning of this series that some people opt to go for a different keepsake than a ring? Some players wanted shotguns, some wanted necklaces, or watches, or whatever.
Ralph Houk instead of taking the ring in 1953 (he had a ring from 1947 and 1952) went with a plate.
He went with a silver plated plate.
I’m at a loss for words.
Now, this may be the ONLY symbolic World Series plate ever. (Color me shocked if another player said “Yeah, I’ll take a plate over the best looking ring the Yankees have ever made after winning a 5th straight World Series.”) This should be the only World Series plate ever. And for that, it is tremendously rare…and yet it is still worth just 1/10th of a typical World Series ring.
Oh Ralph Houk.
Come back tomorrow to see the Yankees rings from 1956, 1958, 1961, 1962, 1977, and 1978! It’s going to be a big day of rings!