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Lot # 13 (of 1727)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1934 Babe Ruth Pro-Model Bat Used by Ruth to Hit His 702nd Career Home Run - Signed by Ruth, Gehrig and Other Members of the 1934 New York Yankees!

Starting Bid - $25,000, Sold For - $111,625

For a complete description of the 1934 Babe Ruth Pro-Model Bat Used by Ruth to Hit His 702nd Career Home Run -Signed by Ruth, Gehrig please go to:

http://www.robertedwardauctions.com/auction/2010_preview/8579.html

The following is a slightly edited (shortened) version.

This Babe Ruth H&B signature-model bat, used by the famed "Sultan of Swat" to hit his 702nd career home run in 1934, is not only one of the very few documented Babe Ruth home-run bats in existence, it is the most well documented of these few, and is further distinguished by the fact that it has been signed by Ruth, Gehrig and eleven other members of the 1934 New York Yankees. Graded A10 by MEARS and GU10 by PSA/DNA.

There are many Babe Ruth pro-model bats, of varying quality, circulating in the hobby today (ninety are listed in the MEARS census alone). What nearly all of those bats have in common, besides the fact that they are Babe Ruth pro-model bats, is that they require a very large leap of faith when it comes to the question of whether or not Ruth ever used any of them in a game. No such requirement is needed here. Not only did Babe Ruth use this bat in a game, he did so while recording the 702nd home run of his career. To fully understand how special this bat truly is one only has to consider that, to the best of our knowledge, this is one of only three Babe Ruth bats that can be attributed to a specific home run. The first, and most widely publicized, is the bat Ruth used to hit the first home run in Yankee Stadium in 1923, which sold for $1.4 million at public auction in 2004. The other is the bat Ruth used to hit his first home run in the 1924 season, which has never been sold publicly and remains in private hands. Then there is the offered example, which was first offered at public auction in April 2008, realizing a final sales price of $99,000. Like those other two paradigms of Ruthian lumber, the offered bat is accompanied by overwhelming documentation that supports its use by Ruth to hit his 702nd home run. In fact, in this case, the documentation of its provenance, authenticity, and use by Ruth is not only greater than that for any Ruth bat, but for any bat of any player we have ever seen. The documentation, which traces the bat's history from Ruth's hands to today, actually takes an entire binder just to hold!

Ruth originally presented this bat to A. V. Ott, an Equitable Life Insurance salesman in New York whose clients included many of the New York Yankees players. Ott was particularly close to manager Joe McCarthy, and the two of them served on a number of youth organizations aimed at preventing juvenile delinquency. On Sunday, July 22, 1934, Ott traveled to Chicago to witness the Yankees and White Sox play a double header at Comiskey Park. In the first game, Ruth hit his sixteenth home run of the year, and the 702nd of his career, in leading the Yankees to an 8-2 victory over the Sox. In between games, Ruth presented Ott with the bat he used that afternoon, but not before he and twelve other New York Yankees team members had signed it. Years later, in 1945, both the bat and ball Ott received that day were given as a gift to his ten-year-old nephew Jon (Jackie) Flamming, who lived in Tyndall, South Dakota. These facts are provided in an accompanying notarized letter, dated July 7, 2002, signed by Martha Flamming Grimme, the wife of the late Jon Flamming. (The letter can be viewed in its entirety on our website.) All of the information provided in her letter is corroborated by a period newspaper article which appeared in the October 4, 1945, edition of the Tyndall Tribune and Register, a copy of which accompanies the bat. Jon Flamming's gift of a Babe Ruth home run bat (and a signed ball) was big news in Tyndall, South Dakota, at the time and the local paper prominently featured the story on its front page. According to the article, the bat and ball were put on display in the front window of the local hardware store so all of the town folk could see them. In part:

A bat and ball, autographed by Babe Ruth and the rest of the New York Yankees team, in the year 1934, are proud possessions of Jackie Flamming, son of Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Flamming, and form an appropriate attraction in the Tyndall Hardward store window this week as the World Series games got under way Wednesday. Incidentally, the bat is one with which Babe Ruth, the home run king, swatted out one of his famous homeruns in the game following which the bat was autographed. The ball and bat were both given to A. V. Ott between halves of a doubleheader played in 1934 between the Chicago White Sox and the New York Yankees...This bat and ball have been preserved all this time until such time as Mr. and Mrs. Ott could deliver them in person to their nephew. The occasion was delayed because of the war.

In addition to its extraordinary provenance as a documented Ruth home-run bat, the bat itself is a model of perfection. The H&B signature-model bat (predating model numbers) is not cracked and displays exceptionally bold and distinct stampings, both to the center brand and to Ruth's facsimile signature on the barrel. The bat, crafted out of white hickory, displays evidence of heavy use, primarily in the form of ball marks on the left side of the barrel (including a very distinct stitch mark). Measuring 35 inches in length, and weighing 37 ounces, the bat dates to the 1933-1934 manufacturing period, but based upon its accompanying documentation, its period of use can be definitively dated to 1934. Ideally, this bat is recorded in the H&B factory records, which makes note that Ruth's final order of white hickory bats was shipped to him on March 11, 1933. Graded A10 by MEARS (5 point base grade, plus 3 points for use, and 2 points for provenance) and GU10 by PSA/DNA.

While the supporting documentation is as extraordinary as we have ever seen with regard to provenance, and its physical attributes are perfect, this bat is further distinguished by the fact that Ruth and twelve of his teammates (seven of whom are Hall of Famers) opted to sign it prior to its presentation to Ott. Each of the signatures (which include both Ruth and Gehrig) has been scripted in black fountain pen upon the barrel.

In addition to being one of only three documented Ruth home-run bats, the offered example is also believed to be the only documented Ruth game-used bat dating from his final season as a New York Yankee. This is an extraordinary opportunity to acquire a world-class museum-quality Ruth bat, the likes of which one would only expect to find at the Baseball Hall of Fame or Smithsonian Institute. LOAs from Troy Kinunen/MEARS and James Spence/JSA. Reserve $25,000. Estimate $50,000++. SOLD FOR $111,625


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