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1934 Oversized Bat Presented to Mickey Cochrane - Signed by Over 140 Players including Gehrig, W. Johnson, Lazzeri, and Hornsby
Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $3,525
This unique presentation piece, which was given to Detroit Tigers catcher Mickey Cochrane in 1934, displays the signatures of over 140 different ballplayers, including eighteen Hall of Famers. While the exact circumstances of the presentation of this oversized balsam-wood bat are unknown, we do know that it was personally saved by Mickey Cochrane and came directly from his estate many years age. A vintage hand-drawn label, reading "Tigers - 1934" in the center, appears on the barrel. The year is particularly noteworthy as Cochrane led the Tigers to the World Series in his first season as player-manager for Detroit in 1934, and he was also named the American League's Most Valuable Player. The signatures appearing on this bat read like a who's who of American League players at the time (a few National League signatures are also present). Although the nature of the piece makes the exact number of signatures difficult to count, we have counted at least 143 different names on the bat. The eighteen Hall of Fame signatures on the bat are those of Gehrig (grading "4/5"), Harris, Combs, Lazzeri, Dickey, Gomez, Hornsby, Simmons, W. Johnson, Appling, Manush, Conlan, Averill, Ferrell, Cronin, Grove, Ruffing, and Lyons. The signatures of Joe McCarthy and Connie Mack Sr. found here are classic secretarial examples from the period. Other notable signatures include those of Red Rolfe, Charles O'Leary, Jimmy Austin, Johnny Allen, George Blaeholder, Red Kress, Pat Malone, Wes Ferrell, Max Bishop, Steve O'Neill, Schoolboy Rowe, Mel Harder, Jimmie Dykes, Johnny Murphy, Zeke Bonura, Russ Van Atta, Merv Shea, Nick Altrock, Walter Brown, George Selkirk, Lyn Lary, Cecil Travis, Myril Hoag, Al Schacht, Monte Pearson, Hal Trosky, Willis Hudlin, Rip Radcliff, Bing Miller, Bill Rogell, Oscar Melillo, and Mule Haas. The signatures, all of which are scripted in black fountain pen, range from "2" to "8," averaging "5." The fact that so many players took the time to sign this bat for Cochrane suggests the tremendous amount of respect he had from his peers. Cochrane joined the Tigers in 1934, and as player-manager promptly led the team to its first pennant in twenty-five years. His leadership, along with a .320 average, later earned him MVP honors at season's end. Perhaps the signing of this bat was arranged as a token of the team's appreciation for his efforts that season, or presented in honor of his being named the American League's Most Valuable Player for the 1934 season. Whatever the exact circumstances of its signing and presentation, it was a keepsake prized by Cochrane throughout his life. It is an exceptional conversation piece, a significant memento relating to Mickey Cochrane's 1934 MVP season, and a fascinating and unique signed item. The bat, which measures 36 inches in length and has a barrel circumference of 14 inches, displays moderate-to-heavy wear, especially along the handle and knob area (the knob is badly chipped). The barrel area has a number of minor chips and abrasions, none of which significantly affect any of the Hall of Fame signatures. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $3,525
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