Important Babe Ruth Professional Model Baseball Bat with Eight Home Run Notches c.1928-29 (PSA/DNA GU 9)
Important Babe Ruth Professional Model Baseball Bat with Eight Home Run Notches c.1928-29 (PSA/DNA GU 9)
Important Babe Ruth Professional Model Baseball Bat with Eight Home Run Notches c.1928-29 (PSA/DNA GU 9)
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Important Babe Ruth Professional Model Baseball Bat with Eight Home Run Notches c.1928-29 (PSA/DNA GU 9)
6 More
Important Babe Ruth Professional Model Baseball Bat with Eight Home Run Notches c.1928-29 (PSA/DNA GU 9)

Details
Important Babe Ruth Professional Model Baseball Bat with Eight Home Run Notches c.1928-29 (PSA/DNA GU 9)
Provenance
Michael Montbriand

Brought to you by

Elizabeth Seigel
Elizabeth Seigel Vice President, Specialist

Lot Essay

History has an interesting way in which items related to important events or significant occurrences seem to take on an almost mythical status in and of themselves. During the 1920-30s era Babe Ruth cemented his status as an icon in American sports and pop cultural history. He is credited with saving the game of baseball after the 1919 "Black Sox" scandal. Ruth also became a beacon of light during the Depression era for young and old to escape their day to day troubles through his charismatic play on the field. Babe Ruth knew and recognized his importance to the American people. His humble beginnings made him realize how fortunate he had become and assuredly led him to give back in many ways, especially to young fans of the game of baseball. Through the many years of Babe's career hundreds of items were signed, given out and collected by adoring fans all over the country. A signed baseball or photo given to a young fan in many instances would end up as a hallowed family heirloom for future generations. For a precious few, a game used bat received as a gift or contest prize would take its place on a mantle or in a family safe, held as a cherished treasure.
In most cases, the precise history of a particular game used bat is indiscernible. Undoubtedly, Ruth bats used for mammoth home runs and significant milestones have been traded within the marketplace for years with no measurable way in which to confirm as much. However, there is one category type of Babe Ruth game used bat which has been long held as the "white whale" of its medium. Published in 1928, "Babe Ruth's Own Book of Baseball" includes several passages regarding a particular treatment which he applied to a select few of his bats. It reads in part: "Last season I started a stunt which gave the boys quite a laugh for a long time. I started "notching" my bats for home runs, like the old gunmen used to notch their guns when they killed a man. Every time I would hit a home run I would cut a notch in the bat handle of the club I had used. At first the boys began laughing, but as September came around and I started hitting all sorts of pitching for home runs they changed their tune. I have one bat in the clubhouse that has seven notches in the handle and another one that has eleven. Eleven is about as many as a bat will hold for the minute you start notching the hitting surface the umpires will throw the bat out. The whole thing started as a sort of "kid" and as a matter of fact I wasn't superstitious about those notches at all. But most of the gang thought I was. And I did accomplish one thing. By putting those notches in the bat I identified my own clubs and the other fellows would leave my bats strictly alone".
Offered is a Babe Ruth professional model baseball bat having eight home run notches dating to the 1928-29 period. The bat measures 35" in length and weighs 35.4 ounces, both which are consistent with ordered models of the period. The Louisville Slugger 125 model R43 bat exhibits tremendous evident use including ball marks, grain separation and a repaired handle crack. There is an area of surface planing to the right barrel which appears to be indicative of preparation for factory side writing by the Hillerich & Bradsby Co. Additional evidence of H&B factory return is the presence of vintage finish nails at the back of the barrel used to secure grain separation from ball contact. This was executed by the factory in order to obtain the proper measurements when used for turning future bats. The handle of the bat also displays light surface scoring as evidenced on other documented Ruth game used bats.
In addition to the offered subject bat, there are four known notched bats that are attributed to being game used by Babe Ruth. The first bat with 21 home run notches is on display at the Louisville Slugger Museum in Louisville, KY. Another bat with 28 notches is on display at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. The third bat is a side written example, held privately, with 11 notches below the center brand. The fourth bat, a side written bat also held privately, with 11 notches, 6 above the center brand and 5 below. Interestingly, with the inclusion of the subject bat, 4 of the 5 known Ruth notched game bats display factory side writing indicating they were returned to Louisville Slugger for bats of the same model. This particular specimen was obtained by a collector in 1999 and was attributed to have once part of the personal collection of renowned pioneering bat collector and authenticator, Michael Montbriand.
As referenced, it is very difficult to quantify the desirability and scarcity of Babe Ruth notched home run bats. To fully assess the significance of the offered bat we must account for the extraordinarily limited known population, mythical stature of the home run notches and placement for two of the five bats within public institutions. In as much, it is with great confidence that we may present this Babe Ruth notched home run bat as one of the very finest ever offered to the collecting public. Includes full LOA from PSA/DNA (Graded GU9): EX

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