1922-1924 George Kelly Side Written Pro-Model Bat

Sold For: $4,700

Auction Year: 2010 spring

Lot: 1352

Item Year: 1922

Category: Game-Used Bats

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George Kelly H&B signature model bat (predating model numbers) dating from the 1922-1925 manufacturing period. Graded A6.5 by MEARS; only one graded at this level, with just three graded higher. Although this bat dates from the 1922-1925 manufacturing period, it can be more narrowly dated to the three-year period 1922-1924 based upon the fact that it was returned to the H&B factory in 1924, as evidenced by the side writing on the barrel. Most of the side writing has faded beyond legibility with the exception of the last part of the date, which reads " 8 24." Also clearly visible on the barrel are minor remnants of a paper label. The paper label was an actual mailing label that was once affixed to the bat for shipping purposes. In the "old days" it was standard practice for bats to be mailed to Hillerich and Bradsby by simply affixing a mailing label and postage directly onto the bat. Despite the fact that the side writing is very faint, its mere presence is extremely significant for it indicates that this bat was returned to the H&B factory to be used as a template for future bat orders. For that reason side writing is the single most desirable physical trait that can be found on any pro-model bat. The bat displays heavy use along its entire length, including ball and stitch marks, cleat marks, deadwood on the back of the barrel (a highly desirable trait resulting from repeated contact with the ball), a light application of pine tar, and a thirteen-inch crack in the handle that extends directly through the middle of the center brand. George "Highpockets" Kelly was one of the key members of the New York Giants 1921-1923 baseball dynasty, helping to lead the club to three pennants and two World Championships during that span. He was also one of the top fielding first basemen of the era, and he joined Frank Frisch, Dave Bancroft, and Heinie Groh in what many consider to be the best Giants infield of all time. Kelly batted over .300 for six consecutive seasons (1921-1926) and twice hit three home runs in one game. He also knocked in 100 or more runs four years in a row, capped by a League- and career-high 136 in 1924. He finished his career with a .297 lifetime average, 148 home runs, and 1,020 RBI. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1973. Length: 35 inches. Weight: 37 ounces. Graded A6.5 by MEARS (5 point base grade, plus 3 points for use but 1.5 points subtracted for the handle crack affecting the center brand). This is one of only six George Kelly pro-model bats listed in the MEARS census. LOA from Troy Kinunen/MEARS. Reserve $500. Estimate $2,000+. SOLD FOR $4,700

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