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1950-1960 Richie Ashburn Pro-Model Bat
Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $3,231
This rare Richie Ashburn H&B signature-model "C12" bat dates to the 1950-1960 manufacturing period; however, it can be more narrowly dated to the two-year period 1958-1959 based upon H&B shipping records. According to those records, Ashburn placed a number of orders for "C12" bats (matching the specifications of this bat) in the 1950s, with the first order submitted on 3/28/58 and the final one recorded on 9/2/59. The bat displays extensive use along its entire length, including ball marks on all sides of the barrel, deeply embedded stitch marks, cleat marks, black and blue bat-rack marks, and severe deadwood on the back of the barrel. (Deadwood is a highly positive trait in the eyes of many collectors, even though graders often take off points for it for "condition", as it occurs as a result of repeated contact with the ball.) The bat also displays a few minor "dents" and light discoloration on the barrel. This bat dates from the time of Ashburn's greatest overall season in the Majors. Ashburn batted a league- and career-high .350 in 1958, while also posting league-leading totals in hits (215), triples (13), bases on balls (97), and on-base percentage (.441). Ashburn's remarkable 1958 season also marked the first and only time a leadoff hitter has led the league in both average and bases on balls. A two-time National League batting champion, Ashburn batted over .300 on nine separate occasions and finished his career with a .308 lifetime average. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1995. Length: 34 inches. Weight: 30 ounces. Graded A6 by MEARS (5 point base grade, plus 3 points for use, but minus 1 point for the deadwood and another 1 point for the barrel "dents"/discoloration). Richie Ashburn pro-model bats are exceedingly rare. This is only the fifth Richie Ashburn bat ever evaluated by MEARS, the highest graded of which is A7.5. It is also just the second Ashburn bat we have ever handled. Interestingly, of the other four Ashburn bats listed in the MEARS census, two also displayed dents on the barrel and another two displayed light discoloration (with each losing points because of them). While the sample might be too small to rule out sheer coincidence, it strongly suggests that perhaps both of those anomalies might, in fact, be player traits, or may possibly relate to subsequent handling/storage by the club. Additional examples, if they ever surface, should prove enlightening. LOA from Troy Kinunen/MEARS. Reserve $1,000. Estimate $2,000+. SOLD FOR $3,231
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