This exceedingly rare H&B retail-store display poster (we have never before even seen another example) showcases the many major league stars who use Louisville Slugger bats - and what a lineup it is! A total of fifty-four players are pictured here, most of whom are still as well known today as they were in 1958. The sixteen Hall of Famers represented are Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, Frank Robinson, Duke Snider, Pee Wee Reese, Yogi Berra, Eddie Mathews, Al Kaline, Bill Mazeroski, Richie Ashburn, Nellie Fox, George Kell, Luis Aparicio, and Red Schoendienst. Other notables including Roger Maris, Billy Martin, Minnie Minoso, Ken Boyer, Carl Furillo, Jackie Jensen, Rocky Colavito, Roy Sievers, Ted Kluszewski, Elston Howard, Jimmy Piersall, and Dale Long. The H&B trademark logo appears in the center of the poster, while the caption along the base reads "Choice of the Champions - Always Louisville Slugger Bats." Each player is identified in print along the base by means of a corresponding number next to his image.
Although the poster bears no year identifier, it can be conclusively dated to the 1958 season because Billy Martin is pictured as a member of the Detroit Tigers. (Martin only played with the Tigers in 1958.) This poster was probably issued exclusively to participating retailers and was intended for display on store walls in promotion of the company's bat line. We also believe, but cannot confirm, that each of the players pictured here were also probably issued a copy of the poster. Given the "star" power of its endorsers, it's no surprise that Louisville Slugger bats were the bat of choice for nearly every youngster in America at the time. Vintage H&B retail posters are extremely rare and this poster is one of only a few examples (each a different design) that we have offered in the past twelve years. It should be noted that there are numerous H&B "fantasy" retail posters circulating in the marketplace, which might leave some collectors with a distorted notion regarding the availability of such pieces. Original, vintage pieces such as this are virtually nonexistent. The poster (16 x 21.5 inches) displays a number of minor flaws commensurate with its age and fragile nature (thin paper stock), including a number of light surface wrinkles, and small horizontal tear along the left border (touching upon Moose Skowron's image), none of which detract in the least from its apparent Excellent appearance. Matted and framed to total dimensions of 26.5 x 32.5 inches. This poster is an exceptional display piece from an era that has very few store-display pieces of this type or caliber, and would be a welcome and significant addition to any advanced baseball advertising and/or bat collection. Reserve $2,500. Estimate (open).
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