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New York Yankees Had to Keep Frank Leja on Their 25-Man Roster for Two Years

New York Yankees signed 17-year-old Frank Leja on Oct. 1, 1953 for a reported $45,000. He became, and still remains, the youngest player to appear in a game in a Yankees uniform.

In those days, there was a "bonus rule" in effect, which required that players signed in excess of $4,000 had to remain with the major league team for two seasons. The rule was created in order to discourage teams from paying untried youngsters large sums of money. If a team violated the rule, the player could be lost on waivers. The rule existed from 1947 to '65.

Some bonus babies became outstanding major leaguers. Sandy Koufax and Harmon Killebrew head the list. Paul Krichell, who discovered Lou Gehrig, believed that Leja had a chance to become the next Lou Gehrig. ...

Read Full Article at Bleacher Report - New York Yankees


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