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1979 Johnny Bench Pro-Model Bat
Starting Bid - $400, Sold For - $1,763
Johnny Bench H&B signature model "B278" bat dating from the 1977-1979 manufacturing period. This is an ideal Johnny Bench bat. The bat displays heavy use along its entire length, including deeply embedded ball and stitch marks, rack marks, pine tar, and a twelve-inch "H" crack in the handle. Bench's uniform number ("5") is written in black marker on both the knob and the barrel end. A piece of vintage white tape is wrapped around the handle (1.5 inches in length), on which is written the date "5/4/79" in blue ink. That wrap of white tape is typical for player bats sold at the Cincinnati Reds' gift shop during the 1970s, and it is a virtual certainty that this bat was purchased from the Reds' gift shop on the date listed. Factory records indicate that Bench first ordered model "B278" bats on 6/23/77 and he continued to order them through 1979. Bench batted .276 with 22 home runs and 80 RBI in 1979. Considered one of the game's greatest catchers of all time, Bench was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1989 and was later named a member of Baseball's All-Century Team. Length: 35.37 inches. Weight: 30.9 ounces. Graded A9.5 by MEARS (5 point base grade, plus 3 points for use and 2 points for the gift shop tape, but minus a half point for the crack). This is one of twenty-one Johnny Bench pro-model bats listed in the MEARS census, with no others graded at this level, and only four graded higher. LOA from Troy Kinunen/MEARS. Reserve $400. Estimate $800/$1,200.
SOLD FOR $1,763
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