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Scarce and Important Babe Ruth Boston Red Sox Era Professional Model Baseballl Bat c. 1916-18 (PSA/DNA 9.5) (Connie Mack/Philadelphia Athletics Bat Boy Provenance)
Scarce and Important Babe Ruth Boston Red Sox Era Professional Model Baseballl Bat c. 1916-18 (PSA/DNA 9.5) (Connie Mack/Philadelphia Athletics Bat Boy Provenance)
Scarce and Important Babe Ruth Boston Red Sox Era Professional Model Baseballl Bat c. 1916-18 (PSA/DNA 9.5) (Connie Mack/Philadelphia Athletics Bat Boy Provenance)
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Scarce and Important Babe Ruth Boston Red Sox Era Professional Model Baseballl Bat c. 1916-18 (PSA/DNA 9.5) (Connie Mack/Philadelphia Athletics Bat Boy Provenance)
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Scarce and Important Babe Ruth Boston Red Sox Era Professional Model Baseballl Bat c. 1916-18 (PSA/DNA 9.5) (Connie Mack/Philadelphia Athletics Bat Boy Provenance)

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Scarce and Important Babe Ruth Boston Red Sox Era Professional Model Baseballl Bat c. 1916-18 (PSA/DNA 9.5) (Connie Mack/Philadelphia Athletics Bat Boy Provenance)
In 1914, the heralded and yet unbridled young player by the name of Babe Ruth made his Major League debut with the Boston Red Sox. Ruth had quickly ascended through the Minor League ranks, first with Baltimore and then Providence. Although young Ruth's penchant for long home runs gained him attention, it was Ruth's prowess as a left-handed pitcher that proved his strongest talent early in his career. During his first six seasons with the Red Sox, Ruth compiled a total of 89 wins with an ERA of 2.19. For a period of four seasons, Ruth was second in the AL for wins to only Walter Johnson. By 1916, Ruth had reached the pinnacle of his pitching career earning a record nine shutouts in the regular season, and a 14 inning complete game victory in the World Series. In 1917 his pitching success continued, with Babe notching 24 wins against 13 losses.
However, in 1918 world events created an opportunity for Ruth that would change the course of history. Due to many players being called into service for World War I there was a need for everyday players. Ruth was aware of this need, and had also become frustrated with only pitching every third or fourth day, versus playing a regular fielding position. He ultimately convinced Red Sox manager Ed Barrow that the game would never be quote "the same." During a War-shortened season Ruth batted .300 and tied for the league lead in home runs with 11. During Babe's final season with the Red Sox in 1919 he fully emerged as the greatest slugger in the game belting 29 home runs, 113 RBIs, and 103 runs scored —all league leading totals. Due to Ruth's exceptional pitching success early in his career, his ability to hit was extremely limited. Up until 1918, Ruth had amazingly never had more than 150 at bats in a season. Additionally, during the beginning of his career Ruth was incessantly teased about his rugged demeanor and raw behavior. According to period accounts of this early career period, Ruth was limited primarily to a pitching role, and would arrive to find his bats having been sawed in half by teammates to ridicule the young player. As such, professional model game bats dating to Babe Ruth's tenure with the Red Sox are nearly non-existent, with a fractional handful documented to exist.
Offered is one of only two documented pre-1918 era Babe Ruth block letter stamped Louisville Slugger professional model bats known to exist. The imposing war club measures 35 ¾" long and weighs an incredible 43.6 ounces. Handsome graining present in the ash bat, which displays strong evident use in the form of extensive ball marks, grain checking and a professionally repaired handle crack. Louisville Slugger manufacturer's stampings display boldly at centerbrand area (1916-18 label variant) with "RUTH" in block lettering on the barrel. Handle crack once had period black tape (applied by Frank Gara in the period) around it for support, which has since been removed and expertly restored.
The bat possesses a succinct provenance, which traces its origins to Ruth himself during an appearance at a 1944 War Bond Game played at Shibe Park in Philadelphia. Connie Mack had invited Ruth to participate, and would be given three swings to try to hit a home run. According to family history, Ruth hit the first ball to the fence, the second ball to the fence, and with the third and final swing also hit one to the wall, but cracked the bat. Ruth reportedly remarked to the crowd, "Ole Babe doesn't have it anymore." The bat was presented to his old friend Connie Mack, who in turn presented it to the Philadelphia A's bat boy Frank Gara whose father, a Philadelphia Police Captain, was a dear friend of Mack. It descended within the Gara family until its purchase by noted bat collector Michael Montbriand in 1991.
The scarcity of any pre-1918 Ruth bat cannot be overstated for the aforementioned. The provenance and history of this particular example create a compelling argument in favor of standing as one of the most important early career Babe Ruth bats extant. Extensive supporting documentation accompanies the bat to include: 1994 notarized letter from Fran Gara chronicling the history of the bat including vintage black and white photo showing Gara standing with the bat having black handle tape visible on the handle; 1997 typewritten letter of authenticity/provenance from Michael Montbriand, and LOA from PSA/DNA (GU 9.5): EX
35 ¾ in. long
43.6 ounces
Provenance
Connie Mack (attributed).
Frank Gara (Philadelphia A's Bat Boy).
Michael Montbriand Collection.

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