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1994 Michael Jordan Pro-Model Birmingham Barons Bat - Highest Graded Example
Starting Bid - $400, Sold For - $1,763
This Michael Jordan Louisville Slugger block-letter (full name) model "C271" bat dates from his 1994 minor-league season with the Birmingham Barons of the Southern League. Graded A9 by MEARS, only one graded at this level, with none graded higher. The black bat is not cracked and displays heavy use, including ball marks, deeply embedded stitch marks, rack marks, and minor dead wood on the back of the barrel. Additionally, there is a ring just above the center brand made by repeated use of a weighted donut (normally used by players in the on-deck circle). The number "45" (which was Jordan's uniform number with the Barons) is written on the knob in silver paint pen. This bat measures 34 inches in length and weighs 32.9 ounces. Factory records indicate that Jordan first ordered 34-inch model "C271" bats on August 17, 1994, and he continued to order them through January 12, 1995. All of the bats ordered during that time period weighed either 31 or 32 ounces. It should also be noted that a shipment of twelve model "C271" bats, each measuring 34 inches and weighing 31 ounces, was sent to Jordan Promotions on 10/8/95. However, the fact that this bat weighs close to 33 ounces and displays heavy use makes it highly likely that it originates from one of the documented shipments between 8/17/94 and 10/8/95 (the period of his active playing career). Jordan shocked the sports world in 1993 by announcing his retirement from basketball. Even more surprising was his decision in early 1994 to pursue a career in baseball. Jordan signed a contract with the Chicago White Sox and was assigned to the team's class AA affiliate, the Birmingham Barons. Although touted as the world's greatest athlete, Jordan quickly found out what Ted Williams once said was true: "Hitting a baseball is the single most difficult thing to do in sports." Jordan batted just .202 with the Barons that summer. After an equally disappointing fall season with Scottsdale he returned to the hardwood in the spring of 1995, thus officially ending his professional baseball career. Graded A9 by MEARS (5 point base grade plus 3 points for use and another point for the uniform number on the knob). This is one of only four Michael Jordan pro-model bats listed in the entire MEARS census and it represents the highest-graded example. LOA from Troy Kinunen/MEARS. Reserve $400. Estimate $800/$1,200. SOLD FOR $1,763
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