February 19th - 25th, 2010 9:00 P.M. CST w/ 15 minute rule
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 2/25/2010
Babe Ruth bats have always represented the culmination of game used collecting success. Prices can range in excess of $100,000, and opportunities to own authentic examples are becoming increasingly rare. Private collectors, investors, and museums have all become active participants in the quest of Ruth lumber. Offered for our current auction is a solid representation of a bat manufactured for Ruth to use during the 1923-25 seasons. Although falling a few seasons short of the fabled 1927 season, this bat was manufactured during the 1923-25 seasons, which found him winning the 1923 Most Valuable Player award. For the season, Ruth clobbered 41 HR's, 131 RBI's (both league highs)and batted a lifetime career high of .393. Ruth continued to be productive during the span of this label, hitting 46 HRs in 1924, and 25 during 1925. Although factory records are not known to specifically pinpoint the order of this bat, the model and weight match factory records, and an article written by Babe himself addresses the non standard 34.5" length.
Dating 1923-25: Per the book, “A complete reference guide Louisville Slugger bats Professional Player bats” by Vince Malta, 2007, this bat is most consistent with the 1923-25 centerbrand variations, page 16.
Length 34.5”: According to H&B factory records, Ruth was documented as ordering bats measuring 35”, 36” and n/s, length not specified during the 1920-31 timespan. Ruth was recorded ordering 34.5” bats during 1932, but this was documented after the examined label period. In the book produced by Louisville Slugger, “the Knack of Batting”, Babe Ruth was quoted as stating he did sometimes use bats which measured less than 35”, meaning that statement may have supported the H&B factory record n/s (non specified) as being the 34.5” length ordered by Ruth, but exact records do not verify this length.
Weight 41.6 ounces: H&B factory records show that for the years 1923-25, Ruth ordered bats weighing 40 to 44 ounces. Therefore, this bat is consistent with respect to length of bats ordered by Ruth during the examined label period. Ruth's very own 1923 records show document bats being shipped to him weighing 40, 41, and 42 ounces.
Barrel Signature version: This bat exhibits the Second Version barrel stamping facsimile signature which came into use during the 1921/22 era and was used for the remainder of his career (1921/22 to 1935).
Use: Bat exhibits heavy game use, with swelling of the grain. Over three dozen cleat marks are scattered on all surfaces of the barrel. Although unreadable, the barrel end contains the remnants of a paper return label. This was the practice where players applied the shipping label directly to the bat and mailed it directly to the Louisville Slugger factory - no box, no packaging materials, no tape, just a label and stamps! This was done so the player could have additional bats made for their own personal use.
The identification label, which was originally present on this bat during the first evaluation has since been removed per the consignor. The label originally read, "Bat given to Henry A Waxman by his old school chum George H. Babe Ruth 1923."
Final Grade: Base grade of 5 points were awarded for bat being consistent with model & weight ordered by Ruth during 1923-35, 3 points were assigned for heavy game use, minus one point for the exact record of length not being verified/slight discoloration of barrel.
Professional authentication & grading Letter of Opinion provided by MEARS/Troy R. Kinunen