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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 12/11/2022

No single sports memorabilia item inspires more awe than a bat used by Babe Ruth. For veteran hobbyists or casual fans, the allure of a bat wielded by Ruth, the ultimate tool of his trade, is unfailing. This Ruth gamer is particularly notable due to its 1918-21 vintage. The bat’s labeling period coincides with a pivotal window in Ruth's career that saw his epic transition from Boston to New York. The magnetic Ruth was hailed as baseball’s savior, the man who ushered in a new "longball era" and revitalized America’s beloved National Pastime stuck in the bog of the 1919 Black Sox scandal.

In 1920, his first season in pinstripes, Ruth clouted 54 homers -- more than every MLB team but one. That same season Ruth slugged an astonishing .847, a record that stood for more than 80 years. In one season, the Sultan of Swat single-handedly put an end to the Deadball Era. The 1920 Yanks, not coincidentally, became the first team to draw over one million fans to the ballpark, more than doubling the attendance of every other club. In the media capital of the world, the combination of Ruth’s boundless charisma and unmatched prowess on the diamond elevated him to a level of popularity in his day greater than any public figure in American history.

Measuring 35.75 inches with a weight of 37.3 ounces, this bat shows the earliest version of Babe Ruth’s signature ever branded on the barrel of an H&B Louisville Slugger. This bat is referenced on Babe Ruth’s order sheet in the H&B factory records as “His Model #1, a.k.a. small or Old Ruth round end (Model R2)”. The hand turned knob of this bat is consistent with the R2 model and is distinguished by a circular lathe mark on the knob end and signs of hand applied rasp marks. Additionally, the knob has been marked in vintage grease paint, presumably at the H&B factory by the lathe hand.

During the last two years of the 1918-21 label period, records show Ruth’s orders for bats between 40 and 47 ounces (recorded weights are not available for pre-1920 records). At 37.2 ounces today, this bat would qualify as one of the bats in a 40-ounce order. It is common for bats to dry over time and eventually weigh up to four ounces lighter than the player’s bat weight request when reviewing his recorded H&B order form. Evidence of a tape ring is another notable attribute of this early Ruth bat. The 1” wide tape ring residue pattern can be seen on the handle located 5" from the end of the knob. A second similar tape ring pattern appears near the top of the handle towards the center brand. Such traits have been documented in photographs showing Ruth holding bats treated with similar taping. Renowned bat expert John Taube has documented all of these important details in his PSA/DNA letter. He also mentions that an an "area on the left barrel has been planed to accept factory side writing" and the knob end has remnants of an 'X' or '+' [cross] sign marked in black, "the first time we have seen this type of notation on the knob of a Ruth bat."

Other highly significant earmarks presented by this magnificent Ruth war club are evidence of “bone rubbing” (flattening of the hitting surface), cleat marks on the front and back barrel, slight checking (grain separation) on the left and back barrel and numerous ball marks from repeated contact. A clean, 9” handle crack (not even close to splintering) is evident and a section of deadwood appears on the back of the barrel. The gorgeous dark mahogany finish and patina of this Ruth gamer are all-original and downright superb. The bat shows no evidence of restoration, presenting just as it was when it last left the hands of the greatest slugger and most famous baseball player of all time.

Includes detailed LOA's from  John Taube of PSA/DNA (Graded GU 7.5) and MEARS (Graded A8.5).

Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $35,000
Final prices include buyers premium.: $131,821
Number Bids:12
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