Spring Premium Live and Catalog Auction 2018
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Absentee portion of this auction is open for bidding.
The live portion of this session will begin Saturday, April 28, 2018 at 7:00 PM EDT.

As the 1951 season began, it was painfully obvious that Joe DiMaggio’s career was coming to a close. Years of playing through injury and the daily wear and tear over 16 professional seasons of ball had taken their toll on the then 36-year-old legend. At the beginning of the season, DiMaggio made a deal with the Yankees batboy, Joe Carrieri: if he gave the aging hero extra attention as the long season wore on, he would share with him his definition of success as well as a game used bat. Throughout the summer Carrieri did his best to make DiMaggio’s season easier. Working through injuries that hobbled the once graceful outfielder, DiMaggio managed to play 116 games and hit 12 home runs. He was voted to the All-Star Game held in Detroit that July, but wasn’t well enough to play.

The story of how Carrieri received the bat became the central theme in his 2000 book, “The Promise.” As Carrieri tells it, DiMaggio finished the season without presenting him with the promised bat. With the Yankees sweep of the Giants in the 1951 World Series, DiMaggio was continuously surrounded by sportswriters and well-wishers and Carrieri went back to his life as a Bronx high school student. Then, about a month after the Series, Carrieri received a call from Yankees clubhouse manager Pete Sheehy telling him Joe DiMaggio wished to see him. Carrieri ran the 26 blocks to the Stadium where he told the batboy that he had decided to retire from the game. The Yankees legend then sat with his batboy and imparted him with his definition of success (you’ll have to read Carrieri’s book to find out what it was). Then, as the teary eyed Carrieri began to leave, DiMaggio called out “Joe, aren’t you forgetting something?” With that, DiMaggio went to his locker, untouched since the season ended, and handed Carrieri a bat. This bat. DiMaggio’s 1951 All-Star Game bat!

This Hillerich & Bradsby D29L model bat shows outstanding use with a professionally repaired handle crack. Carrieri states that the bat’s handle was cracked when DiMaggio gave it to him in 1951. The barrel has slight checking from repeated ball contact and many ball marks with stitch impressions on the left barrel. This is a trademark of game used DiMaggio bats from this period. There is a light coat of pine tar on the back of the center brand and the model number “D29L” is stamped into the knob end. The knob also features the bat’s weight “34” is written in pencil and the initials “JC” (Joe Carrieri, who marked his bats in this fashion to separate his bats from those of his older brother, who previously held the position of Yankees batboy) in vintage black paint.

Though DiMaggio did not play in the All-Star Game, this bat contains all the characteristics found on other examples of his game used bats. This would mean that DiMaggio used the bat later in the season, and PSA/DNA has opined that upon further investigation, this bat may have been one of the 34oz bats DiMaggio was using during the 1951 World Series. After going through a slump in the first three games of the World Series, DiMaggio spoke with his old minor league manager, Lefty O’Doul, by phone. DiMaggio revealed that he had used 35 and 37-ounce bats exclusively throughout the year. According to newspaper reports, Joe switched to a 34oz bat for Game 4, resulting in a 2-for-5 day that included a tremendous two-run home run, the last of his Hall of Fame career. The newspaper account refers to a 34oz Babe Ruth model bat. PSA/DNA has opined that this may have been referring to the “L” Ruth-style knob that was featured on Joe's D29L model. Understandibly, DiMaggio would not be using a Babe Ruth bat.

DiMaggio received two bats for the 1951 World Series, one 34-ounces, one 35-ounces, on September 29th. His ‘51 World Series 34oz model is still in existence and was examined by PSA/DNA, who have stated that it does not show any game use. As Carrieri wrote in his book, DiMaggio retrieved the bat from his locker, which still had all of his effects from the World Series, indicating that the bat was at the very least in his arsenal during the six-game series with the Giants. An exceptional DiMaggio bat with impeccable provenance, used by the most graceful player to ever step foot in a ballpark. This bat comes with a LOA from PSA/DNA (1B02176), who have graded this bat a perfect GU10 as well as the signed letter of provenance from former Yankees batboy Joe Carrieri.

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