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1986 Don Mattingly Signed Pro-Model All-Star Game Bat - Highest-Graded Example
Starting Bid - $500, Sold For - $1,528
Exceptional Don Mattingly Rawlings block-letter model "155B" bat produced specifically for use in the 1986 All-Star Game. Graded A9 by MEARS; only one graded at this level, with none graded higher. The bat features both Mattingly's name (first and last name) and the special-event marking "1986 All-Star Game" foil stamped on the barrel. Mattingly has signed the bat in blue Sharpie (grading "10") on the "sweet spot" of the barrel. The bat displays heavy use along its entire length, including ball marks, deeply embedded stitch marks, rack marks, grain swelling, and an application of pine tar on the handle. The bat has also been scored from the knob to just below the blue Rawlings band. The black foil stampings on a portion of the center-brand label and, to a lesser degree, Mattingly's name, have flaked off. 1986 marked Mattingly's second consecutive appearance in baseball's annual mid-summer classic, held that year at the Astrodome in Houston, Texas. Mattingly entered the game in the fifth inning as a pinch-hitter for starting first baseman Wally Joyner and while he did not get a hit in any of his three at bats, he did help to make history that night. Mattingly was the first of Fernando Valenzuela's five consecutive strikeouts in the game, which tied the record first set by Carl Hubbell in 1934. (Mattingly's next two at bats resulted in a ground out and a second strike out.) All told, National League pitchers struck out twelve American League hitters, but it wasn't enough to prevent a 3-2 win by their American League rivals. Mattingly's unusual lack of production at the plate in the game was in no way indicative of his 1986 season totals: a .353 average with 31 home runs, 113 RBI and league-leading totals in both hits (238) and doubles (53). One of the best all-around players of his era, Mattingly's achievements and honors include one batting title, an MVP Award, six consecutive All-Star Game appearances, and nine Gold Glove Awards. He retired in 1995 with 222 home runs, 1,099 RBI, and a .307 lifetime average. Length: 34 inches. Weight: 31.3 ounces. Graded A9 by MEARS (5 point base grade, plus 2 points for use and 3 points for its All-Star Game provenance, but minus 1 point for the flaking to the foil stampings). This is one of only eight Don Mattingly bats and the only All-Star Game example for him listed in the MEARS census. It also ranks as the highest-graded Mattingly bat, with no others even graded at this level. All-Star Game and World Series bats have always been highly prized by collectors both due to their rarity (normally only two were issued to each participating player) and date-specific provenance. Mattingly pro-model bats are not only scarce, but like those of Roger Maris, they are often held in even higher regard than those of many Hall of Fame players. This is a phenomenal example in all respects and without question the finest we have ever encountered. LOAs from Troy Kinunen/MEARS and James Spence/JSA. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000/$2,000. SOLD FOR $1,528
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