1918-1922 Babe Ruth New York Yankees & Boston Red Sox Game-Used Bat PSA/DNA GU 9

Sold For: $156,000

Auction Year: 2019 spring

Lot: 9

Item Year: 1918

Category: Post-1900 Baseball Memorabilia

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Babe Ruth H&B game-used signature-model (predating model numbers) bat dating from the 1918 to 1922 manufacturing period. Graded GU 9 by PSA/DNA. This is an extraordinary Babe Ruth game used bat and one that is all the more significant because it dates from the time Ruth was making the transition from pitcher to outfielder with the Boston Red Sox, through his early years with the New York Yankees. It was precisely during that five-year span, 1918 to 1922 that records were set, legends were born and, quite literally, the game of baseball was saved. The bat, which measures 36 inches in length and weighs a Ruthian 42.9 ounces, displays evidence of outstanding use along its entire length, including numerous ball marks on the left and back barrel, slight checking (grain swelling) from repeated ball contact, cleat marks, and a very slight surface crack in the back of the barrel. As noted by PSA/DNA in its accompanying letter, both the left barrel contact area and small cleat impressions are known Ruth characteristics:

This Babe Ruth professional model bat displays two nottable Ruth characteristics, a left-barrel contact area and cleat impressions on the upper barrel. Throughout his 22 year Hall of Fame career, from his first at-bats with the Red Sox to his last at-bat with the Boston Braves, Ruth gripped the bat with the center brand turned away from him (see attached), resulting in the left barrel (above his branded name) contacting the ball. The subject bat has a well defined left barrel contact area, so much so, a fair amount of grain swelling can be seen.Ruth also had a habit of knocking the dirt out of his cleats with the barrel of his bat, leaving small cleat impressions on the barrel. The subject bat has a few cleat impressions on the back barrel.

Babe Ruth pro-model bats, by their very nature, represent one of the most desirable objects in the hobby. To hold a bat that was once used by Ruth is tantamount to holding history in the palm of one’s hand. The history held within this wooden club is palpable given the time period it was used. Following the 1917 season, Boston Red Sox manager Ed Barrow decided that as valuable as Ruth was on the mound, he was even more valuable to the club as a hitter. The next year, 1918, Ruth started only 19 games on the mound, which was half his total from the year before, and began to play more regularly in the outfield. Barrow's decision proved to be the right one, as Ruth batted .300 with a league-leading 11 home runs and 61 RBI in just 95 games. The following season he fully emerged as the greatest power hitter in the game by hitting a then-record 29 home runs while driving in a league-leading 113 runs. Following that incredible season, Red Sox owner Harry Frazee stunned the Boston faithful by selling Ruth's contract to the New York Yankees for over $400,000 in cash and credit, which was twice the amount previously paid for a player's contract. That transaction not only reversed the fortunes of each club for decades to come, but most likely saved the game of baseball, which was in turmoil following the 1919 World Series scandal. Ruth's first season in New York was like no other, as the newly christened "Sultan of Swat" broke his own record with an astonishing 54 home runs. The following season he did the unthinkable: breaking his previous record by hitting 59 home runs. He also led the Yankees to their first of three consecutive pennants, launching what would soon become the most successful sports franchise of all time. In the short five-year period of 1918 to 1922 the greatest athlete in the history of American sports was born and his legacy continues to this day. This is a spectacular high-grade Ruth bat, dating from the most significant period of his legendary career, brimming with evidence of many of those historic home runs. LOA from John Taube of PSA/DNA. Reserve $50,000. Estimate $100,000+.


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