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Players on World Series-champion teams each get a big, elaborately decorated, jem-packed ring for their success. Ever wonder who designs them, or who pays for the World Series rings each year?
World Series rings are funded by the owners of all teams in Major League Baseball. This is true also for teams that win the Stanley Cup in the National Hockey League (NHL).
For the National Football League, the NFL pays up to $5,000 per ring, for up to 150 rings total for the Super Bowl-winning team. In the National Basketball Association, today the championship team chooses its own design, then the NBA covers the cost.
What are World Series Rings in Baseball?
Teams winning the World Series in baseball are awarded with a large-sized, specially designed ring, for each player that season as well as others who the players feel contributed to the overall team success.
The rings are usually made of white or yellow gold, with diamonds and other precious gems dotting them. The rings include the team name and logo, along with the championship number (e.g. 27 for the New York Yankees).
Baseball teams are ever-changing during an MLB season, with the total number of players far exceeding the final 25 or 26 who remained on the roster by the end of the World Series. Players get hurt, are waived, get traded, or are sent down (or called up) from the minor leagues, etc.
Players remaining on the winning World Series team get to vote to decide “World Series shares” for people both on the current roster, as well as not still on the roster. This could include former players who left the team mid-season and did not participate in the Series; as well as the manager, coaches, trainers, executives, club personnel, and even fans or players from years past.
Baseball title rings have been distributed to the top team, on and off starting in 1922, finally becoming an annual tradition in 1932. Usually, during the early season following the World Series win, the winning club will host a “ring ceremony” before a game in their home stadium so the squad’s fans can celebrate and applaud their reigning champions.
Brief History of Sports Championship Rings
The concept of valuable rings going to the victors started with the high-level amateur Montreal Hockey Club when the squad claimed the 1893 Stanley Cup. The team competed in various top-level amateur leagues from 1884 to 1932, and are not the Montreal Canadiens we know today.
The first rings looked like wedding bands, except for a couple of hockey sticks crossed for decoration. It was not until the 1960s that Stanley Cup-winning teams got championship rings annually.
In baseball, it started with the 1922 World Series champion New York Giants, after they topped the crosstown-rival Yankees. The Yanks returned the favor in 1923, but opted for a commemorative pocket watch for players. The first Yankees team to get rings for a title was the fabled 1927 squad.
What About World Series Champs Before 1932?
Remember that the concept of title rings was not introduced until the end of the 1800s, and by the early 20th century, the practice was not universally adopted.
Before rings, MLB players usually asked for other items, which could include commemorative tie bars, or cuff links. It might have even been a keepsake, like a pocket watch fob, or pin. (Imagine that today!).
And for the Runners-Up?
Only in the MLB and NFL are members of the losing team also awarded rings ~ because they still were, indeed, champions of their own league or conference. Players can get American League or National League championship rings.
Who Designs and Makes World Series Rings?
It depends on the year. For the MLB, as well as for the other major sports leagues, either Jostens of Minneapoilis, or L.G. Balfour of Attleboro, Massachusetts, is responsible for most championship rings. Additionally, the up-and-coming company Baron, or the known jeweler Tiffany & Co. might enter the process to win the right to design and manufacture title rings.
Baron is relatively new to the crowd of championship ring designers, especially for NBA teams. Tiffany has had success with NFL champions.
Are Old World Series Rings Worth Anything?
Yes, and they are often sold or auctioned off, either by the player (or a player’s family) just for the funds, or they might be auctioned off or raffled to benefit charities (if players donate their rings to a cause; which happens).
In the last 2 decades, a new trend emerged where teams order rings of lesser quality or value for non-players, such as front office staff, or even significant fans. They could be called “B” or “C” rings and they’re smaller with either fewer diamonds, or diamond-like replicas such as cubic zirconia stones.
There is no limit to what title team members might order in terms of the rings. For instance, the 2019 NBA champion Toronto Raptors designed their own rings, 20 of them, with a value of up to $150,000 each for players and on-court team staff.
They also ordered many other rings descending in value, down to a 5th tier replica that cost about $20 each ~ 20,000 of such rings for attendees at their home arena during the next season’s home-opener contest.
Question: Since players who left a title team can still get a ring, have there ever been players who could have gotten more than 1 ring?
Answer: Yes, could have, but they simply received a ring from the team that actually won. Arthur Rhodes, Bengie Molina, and Lonnie Smith were on the roster of World Series-winning teams before being traded or waived, only to make the World Series with their new team. In that case, they were guaranteed a title ring no matter which team won!
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