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Q: Insurance company that Harry Heilmann worked for in Detroit, MI, in 1924-1930 ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Insurance company that Harry Heilmann worked for in Detroit, MI, in 1924-1930
Category: Sports and Recreation > Trivia
Asked by: alank8412-ga
List Price: $100.00
Posted: 05 Jul 2006 11:12 PDT
Expires: 04 Aug 2006 11:12 PDT
Question ID: 743563
From 1924 to 1930, Harry Heilmann worked in the off-baseball season as
a licensed insurance agent. He was a star baseball player with the
Detroit Tigers and was the Batting champion four times with them. As a
result he became very good friends with Babe Ruth, and in fact sold
one or more annuity policies to the Babe (and his girlfriend then wife
Clara Mae Merritt Hodgson). The Babe had Heilmann come to New York and
complete these annuity purchases in 1924 to 1930.  the Babe and Mrs
Ruth subsequently started taking $1000 a month withdrawals from these
accounts right after the Great Depression to maintain their lifestyle.
 I am needing the name of the company or companies with whom Mr
Heilmann placed the Babe's annuity accounts with? Purportedly there
may have been more than one annuity contract and more than one annuity
(life insurance) company used. These accounts were started with
approx. $35,000; and $50,000. each beginning as early as 1924 and the
last one in early 1929.
Subject: Re: Insurance company that Harry Heilmann worked for in Detroit, MI, in 1924-1930
Answered By: pafalafa-ga on 05 Jul 2006 13:22 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Harry Heilmann -- who must have been considered a bit of an insurance
policy himself when it came to batting performance -- worked for
Equitable Life Insurance.  In fact, his sale of a policy to the Babe
was credited by some as having raised the profile of the
then-fledgling life insurance industry.

From what I can see, Equitable was the one and only company that
Heilmann worked with, though I can't say this with 100% certainty. 
Equitable was the only name that come up in a fairly comprehensive
search of historical newspaper records.

Here are links to two good article excerpts on Heilmann, Babe Ruth and insurance:

This first one mentions the initial sale, as reported in the Nebraska
State Journal newspaper of October 17, 1923 (not 1924!):
Ruth Insures With Heilmann

The second article from the New York Times of the 1940's looks back at
the history of the life insurance business, and spends a few inches on
the story of Heilmann's sale to Babe Ruth and his family:

The article specifically (and proudly) mentions Heilmann's affiliation
with Equitable.

Beyond that, the remaining evidence is one of absence...there is a lot
of press on Heilmann as an insurance salesman, but no mention of any
other company that I could find.

By the way, Equitable Life is still in business as AXA Equitable:

You may want to contact them to see if there is a company historian on their staff.

I trust this information fully meets your needs.  However, if there's
anything else I can do for you, just let me know, and I'm at your



search strategy -- Searched Google and various newspaper archives for
[ harry heilmann babe ruth insurance ].

Some of the key newspaper archive sources available are described

Request for Answer Clarification by alank8412-ga on 05 Jul 2006 17:09 PDT
Dear pafalafa-ga. Great work and many thanks for the effort. How do I
follow up with you and seek your offerred assistance.  It's my
understanding that there were two annuities done; the first for
$35,000 again was purportedly done in 1924, and the 2nd in 1926 for
$100,000.  I can see from you excellent efforts that the first was
really done in 1923 and was for $50,000. However in contrast to the
Oct 16th/17th New York Times and Nebraska newspaper reports, it was 
not life insurance but an annuity. Anyway, there is another reference
that you may have luck in gaining access to that I haven't had an
opportunity to find: Bob Kramer's (spelling??) biography on the Babe:
page 273. Am really interested in learning more about any and or all
of these annuity sales, dates amounts, companies, etc that you can
provide. Please advise how to contact you further and utilize your
services, and how to proceed. Again thanks for your efforts.
Sincerely, Alan C. Kifer.

Clarification of Answer by pafalafa-ga on 05 Jul 2006 18:04 PDT

Thanks so much for the kind feedback.  I'm glad you were pleased with
the information.

To follow-up your various items:

--You can post additional questions to Google Answers at any time, and
if you wish, can post them to me simply by saying something along the
lines of "For pafalafa-ga" in both the subject header and in the
question itself.

--I had looked through some books on Babe Ruth, but did not find any
in-depth information on the life insurance/annuities (I confess...I'm
not clear about the difference).  However, there is additional
newspaper information.  It doesn't specify companies involved, but you
may well get a kick out of the information just the same.  You can
view my compilation from several articles here:

--There were several mentions in articles of the 1930's and 1940's
about the press coverage that Ruth's annuities received in the 1920's.
 But oddly, I did not find much press from the 1920's myself. Perhaps
with some deeper digging, though, something might turn up.

Like I said, feel free to post new, follow-up questions here at Google
Answers and if I feel able, I will certainly give them a go.

All the best,

alank8412-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Outstanding response and effort. Thank you.

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