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1943-1949 Billy Herman Pro-Model Bat - Highest-Graded Example
Starting Bid - $500.00 , Sold For - $3,231.25
Billy Herman H&B signature model "K55" bat dating from the 1943-1949 manufacturing period. Graded A8 by MEARS, only one graded at this level, with none graded higher. Billy Herman pro-model bats are exceedingly rare and currently this is one of only two examples ever graded by MEARS. Its scarcity notwithstanding, this bat is also highly significant due to the fact that it can be definitively dated to a particular year, that being Herman's final season in the Major Leagues. H&B factory records indicate Herman only placed one order for "K55" bats, matching this bat's specifications, between the years 1943 and 1949, with that order received on 7/29/47. The bat displays significant use along its entire length including ball marks, deeply embedded stitch marks, grain swelling, and an eight-inch-long wrap of vintage tape on the handle that hides a crack of unspecified length. 1947 was Herman's final Major League season and he spent it in Pittsburgh as player/manager of the Pirates. Even though his batting skills were still sharp (he batted .298 in 436 at bats in 1946), he obviously felt more at home in the dugout that season. Herman only penciled his name in the lineup fifteen times and he finished his final year with a .213 average. Herman was fired with one game remaining in the season and in the following few years he served as player/manager for a number of minor league clubs. In 1952 he returned to the Majors as a coach with Brooklyn and managed the Boston Red Sox in the mid 1960s. During his playing career (1931-1947) Herman was considered the finest second baseman in the National League and Leo Durocher once remarked that he was "universally accepted as the classic number-two hitter...an absolute master at hitting behind the runner." He led the League in fielding percentage at his position on three separate occasions and he finished his career with a .304 average. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1975. Length: 33.87 inches. Weight: 34.6 ounces. Graded A8 by MEARS (5 point base grade, plus 3 points for use and a half point for the date-specific factory records, but minus a half point for the handle crack). This bat has been consigned to this auction directly from the personal collection/inventory of world-renowned bat and jersey authenticators David Bushing and/or Troy Kinunen. LOA from Dave Bushing & Troy Kinunen/MEARS. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000/$2,000. SOLD FOR $3,231.25
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