1953 Jackie Robinson Brooklyn Dodgers Game-Used Bat - PSA/DNA GU 9

Sold For: $96,000

Auction Year: 2017 spring

Lot: 2021

Item Year: 1953

Category: Game-Used Jerseys & Equipment

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High-grade Jackie Robinson H&B signature-model ("S100") bat dating from the Brooklyn Dodgers 1953 pennant-winning season. Graded GU 9 by PSA/DNA. Although the bat conforms to the general 1950 to 1960 manufacturing period, certain variations in the barrel stamping specifically date it to the year 1953. This bat measures 35 inches in length and weighs 34.4 ounces.; specifications that correspond nearly perfectly to those found in Robinson's Professional Bat Ordering Record (PBOR) on file at Lousiville Slugger. According to those records, Robinson placed three separate orders of 35-inch, 35-ounce "S100" model bats in 1953, with the shipments taking place on March 11th, March 13th, and June 2nd. As noted in the accompanying letter from PSA/DNA, the bat, which is not cracked, displays evidence of excellent use along its entire length, including ball marks and stitch impressions on the right, left, and back barrel, cleat marks, slight checking (grain separation; caused by repeated ball contact) on the left and back barrel, and a light application of pine tar on the handle. A chip in the knob has been professionally repaired.

In addition to matching factory records and displaying heavy use, the bat also comes with a unique provenance. According to the original owner, Ed Ryan, his father acquired the bat during one of his many visits to Ebbets Field in the 1950s. He details the bat's history in an accompanying one-page typed letter that reads in part:

My grandfather, father, and myself were all born and raised in Flatbush. . . . I could and did walk to Ebbets Field many times from my childhood home. My uncle was a catholic priest in the Brooklyn diocese for 50 years. . . . he had been a ballplayer too, and on at least one occasion took me into the Dodger clubhouse where I met some of the players, including Jackie. Accompanying pictures include a shot of Jackie Robinson taken at Ebbets Field by father on "camera day". . . . Jackie's holding a bat but I can't confirm that it is my bat. Although I can't recall precisely how my father acquired it, I have personally had this Jackie Robinson Louisville Slugger bat for at least 45+ years. My father died in 1966 and as I have 3 sisters, it became mine.

Robinson enjoyed another stellar season in 1953, batting .329 with 12 home runs and 95 RBI. Those numbers helped the Dodgers capture their second consecutive pennant. Unfortunately for the Flatbush faithful, "wait 'til next year," would again be the season's final refrain, as the club was once again defeated in the World Series by its crosstown rival, the New York Yankees. A Jackie Robinson bat is one of the few items that transcends the hobby due to Robinson's special place in history as the first person to break baseball's long-standing color barrier in 1947. This is an exceptional Jackie Robinson bat in all respects and one that truly deserves its lofty grade of GU 9 from PSA/DNA. LOA from John Taube of PSA/DNA and letter of provenance from Ed Ryan, the original owner of the bat. Opening Bid $25,000. Estimate $100,000++. Reserve $50,000. Estimate (open).

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