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1925-1931 Babe Ruth Pro-Model Bat
Starting Bid - $5,000, Sold For - $32,313
Babe Ruth H&B signature-model bat (predating model numbers) dating to the time of the New York Yankees' 1927/1928 dynasty and the height of Ruth's popularity. Graded A8 by MEARS. The center-brand style of this bat at a glance dates it to the 1921-1931 manufacturing period, but nuances within the design of the center brand allow it to be more precisely dated to the seven-year period 1925 to 1931. Ruth was at the absolute peak of his career between the years 1925 and 1931. Except for 1925, when he missed over fifty games due to injury, Ruth led the league in home runs every season during that seven-year period, including a then-record sixty home runs in 1927. Incredibly, nearly half of Ruth's 714 home runs (327) occurred between the years 1925 and 1931, easily distinguishing it as the most prolific period of his career. It was also the time of baseball's most fabled dynasty. Ruth, who was the heart and soul of the Yankees' famed "Murderers' Row" lineup during the late 1920, lead the club to three consecutive pennants and two consecutive World Championships from 1926 through 1928, with the 1927 club considered by many to be the greatest team ever assembled. The bat measures 34.875 inches in length and weighs forty ounces. As noted in the accompanying MEARS LOA, H&B records confirm orders of 35-inch bats shipped to Ruth during the referenced time period; however, slight deviations in those lengths are often found due to the fact that bats were routinely sanded by hand so that they would conform to a player's requested weight specifications. That practice almost certainly explains the one-eighth inch deviation here, which is entirely within accepted norms. Factory records also reveal that Ruth ordered bats weighing between thirty-six and forty-four ounces in the years 1925 through 1931. Even allowing for as much as a possible five ounces in weight reduction over the years (most bats tend to loose weight over time), the offered bat's weight falls perfectly within the accepted weight range for Babe Ruth bats during the cited period. Ideally, the bat displays evidence of heavy use in the form of ball and stitch marks on both sides of the barrel, rack marks, and by the appearance of three light cleat marks near the area of Ruth's stamped facsimile signature. There is also a ten-inch area of discoloration on the handle that is the result of it having once been wrapped with a layer of tape. A small area of the knob has been professionally restored (the work was so expertly done that from our examination we are not even sure what was repaired). Graded A8 by MEARS (5 point base grade, plus 3 points for use). It should be noted that of the ninety-two Babe Ruth bats graded by MEARS, this is one of only three to achieve a grade of A8. There are of course higher-graded Ruth bats, but these can be prohibitively expensive. It should also be understood that no Babe Ruth bat can achieve a higher grade unless accompanied by added provenance. A Babe Ruth bat is a classic that transcends bat collecting, and would be a worthy addition and highlight in many different types of collections. This is an outstanding Babe Ruth pro-model bat in all respects, made all the more desirable because it dates from the most prolific period of his career. LOA from Troy Kinunen/MEARS. Reserve $5,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $32,313
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