Extraordinary 1959-1960 Ted Williams Signed Pro-Model Bat MEARS 9.5
Reserve - $5,000. Estimate - $15,000+
Ted Williams H&B signature-model (W183) bat dating from the 1959-1960 manufacturing period. Graded A9.5 by MEARS. Also accompanied by an LOA from Michael Specht, the highly respected bat expert and authenticator for Game Used Universe Auctions. This is not only one of the finest Ted Williams bats we have ever offered, but one of the finest we have ever seen, possessing all of the most important features one would hope to find on a Ted Williams game-used bat. What particularly distinguishes this 35-inch bat is the knob. There, we find Williams' uniform number ("9") written in black marker. The presence of Williams' uniform number on the knob is one of the most desirable and ideal traits for any Ted Williams bat. Equally important, the knob also features the number "35" written in pencil. That notation, which denotes the bat's original factory weight, is yet another key element (of many) in confirming both its authenticity and its manufacturing date. Beginning in the late 1950s Ted Williams requested H&B mark his bats with their exact weight on the knob when they left the factory. As noted in both the MEARS and Specht letters, H&B shipping records indicate only two instances of Ted Williams ordering 35-inch, 35-ounce model W183 bats during the period 1950-1960 (the bat's general manufacturing period). One order, for two bats, occurred on 2/10/59; the other, for three bats, was placed on 3/2/60. Therefore, this bat can be specifically dated to the two-year span 1959-1960. In addition to its narrow dating, the bat also displays evidence of moderate-to-heavy use throughout its entire length, including a heavily scored handle, numerous ball marks above and below the barrel stamping, grain swelling, and a green (Fenway Park) rack mark on the front of the barrel. Despite the substantial amount of use, the bat retains an outstanding overall appearance and MEARS even notes in its letter that "Aesthetically, this is one of the finest examples known." Finally, what truly sets this bat apart from nearly all other Williams pro-model bats is the vintage green-ink inscription found on the back of the barrel that reads, "To Ed/Best Wishes/Ted Williams." Although the ink has faded and the inscription is light (grading "3"), it remains clearly legible. All of the elements found on this bat, the uniform number and bat weight on the knob, the nature and amount of use displayed, and the vintage green-ink inscription (as opposed to a later-day Sharpie signature), combine to firmly place this bat in Ted Williams' hand during the last two seasons of his legendary career. Williams batted .254 with 10 home runs and 43 RBI in 1959 (the only season of his nineteen-year career in which he failed to hit over .300), but bounced back in his final season, finishing with 29 home runs, 72 RBI, and a .316 average. For his career, Williams posted a lifetime average of .344 (tied for seventh on the all-time list), with 521 home runs (tied for eighteenth all time), and 1,839 RBI (fourteenth all time). He is also the last player to hit .400 in a single season. This is the ultimate Ted Williams bat and one of the last ever wielded by the man who is regarded by many to be the greatest hitter who ever lived. LOAs from Troy Kinunen/MEARS, Michael Specht/Game Used Universe Auctions, and James Spence/JSA. Reserve $5,000. Estimate $15,000+.
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