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1911-1916 Ross Youngs Side-Written, Vault-Marked Pro Model Bat
Starting Bid - $4,000.00, Sold For - $9,860.00
One of the rarest of all Hall of Famer bats, this H&B block-letter model (predating model numbers) bat is one of only two Ross Youngs pro model bats known to exist and the only example graded a perfect A10 by Mears (the other is graded A7.5). Dating from the 1911-1916 manufacturing period (predating Youngs' 1917 Major League debut), this bat originates directly from the Hillerich & Bradsby archives and is accompanied by a letter of provenance signed by John A. Hillerich IV, President and CEO of H&B. The bat displays a double "dash-dot-dash" stamping in the center brand and features the vault mark "V7" stamped on both the knob and on the end of the barrel. The name "Young" is stamped on the barrel in block letters. While it is not uncommon to find players' last names misspelled on bats, especially for those players who did not have contracts with the company (block letters on the barrel denote their "non-contract" status), this bat could never have been definitively identified as a Ross Youngs bat if not for the vintage grease pencil notation on the side of the barrel. There, written in the familiar hand of longtime H&B employee Henry Morrow, is the identifying notation "Old Ross Young." It is interesting, but not surprising, that Morrow too left off the "s" in "Youngs." At the time this bat was returned to the factory Youngs was just an unknown rookie with the Giants and wouldn't crack the starting lineup until 1918. The bat itself displays heavy game use throughout including deadwood on the reverse of the barrel and an eight-inch "H" crack in the handle. The deadwood on the reverse of the barrel has been tamped down with approximately twenty-seven tiny finishing nails (often referred to as "bat boy" nails), which was a common practice at the time. As previously noted, this is one of only two Ross Young pro model bats known to exist, and the only known side-written example. In addition to the ideal provenance of originating directly from H&B, the original factory side writing is of extraordinary significance as it places this bat directly into the hands of Ross Youngs at the time. When players returned bats to the factory (to be used as templates for future orders) their names would be written in grease pencil on the side of the bat and stored in the vaults for future reference. In that regard, factory side writing on bats is universally regarded as the equivalent of having a letter of authenticity from the player himself. Youngs was one of the top hitters of his era, leading the Giants to four pennants and two World Championships during the 1920s. Over the course of ten seasons he compiled a career average of .322 and was later referred to by manager John McGraw as his "greatest outfielder." Unfortunately, Youngs died tragically and prematurely in 1927 at the age of thirty as a result of a kidney ailment. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1972. This is an extremely rare and significant Hall of Famer pro model bat that is accompanied by an impeccable provenance. Length: 34.75 inches. Weight: 39 ounces. Graded A10 by Mears. LOAs from John A. Hillerich IV, President and CEO of H&B, Dave Bushing/MEARS and John Taube & Vince Malta/PSA DNA. Reserve $4,000. Estimate $8,000/$12,000. SOLD FOR $9,860.00
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