Summer Live and Premium 2018
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Absentee portion of this auction is open for bidding.
The live portion of this session will begin Thursday, August 2, 2018 at 8:00 PM EDT.

By 1914 Napoleon Lajoie was one of the biggest stars in the game. As a player, he had electrified fans with his hitting, winning five batting crowns, including a string of four consecutive titles from 1901 to 1904. Nap’s rivalry with Ty Cobb was legendary, the two men possessing two radically different temperaments – Cobb brash and abrasive and Lajoie modest and soft-spoken. Fans on a whole found Lajoie more likeable and easier to root for, and his popularity was such that when he was named Cleveland’s manager in 1905, the team was re-christened the “Naps” in his honor.

During the 1914 season, Lajoie reached a statistical plateau that only two players had surpassed up to that point – 3,000 career hits. On September 27, 1914, Lajoie became the third member of what would eventually be known as the 3,000 Hit Club. For many more years this exclusive club would only count Lajoie, Honus Wagner and Cap Anson as its sole members. For 1915, Lajoie joined Connie Mack’s Athletics, but despite Nap’s .280 average, nothing could rescue the A’s from recording one of the worst records in their history. Nap played one last season, 1916, before hanging up his spikes. When he walked away from the game he held claim to the title of “best second baseman of all-time” and holder of the highest recorded single-season batting average - .426 – as of this day still unbroken.

This tremendously rare Hillerich & Bradsby 40K model bat was used by Nap Lajoie during the 1914-1915 seasons. As expected from the bat of the man who holds the highest recorded single-season batting average, Lajoie’s bat shows tremendous game use. There are many ball marks on its barrel, along with vintage cleat imprints and abrasions from contact with the ground and other equipment. A small mounting hole located in the lower handle has been repaired. The Hillerich & Bradsby stamping is deep and clear and the upper handle carries the special “KORK GRIP PATENTED SEP. 15, 1914” stamping. The C-2A type center brand was used on bats manufactured from 1910 to 1915, so with the Kork Grip stamping and the center brand the bat can be accurately dated to the 1914-15 period. The “Kork Grip” is still present on the handle and shows good use with some of the cork material worn away from use, but overall remains in excellent condition. Any Dead Ball-era game used equipment is quite rare, but this 1914-15 bat is something very much out of the ordinary as it was used by the great Nap Lajoie as he recorded the last two productive seasons of his Hall of Fame career. Additionally, PSA/DNA, who authenticated this bat, recorded that they know of only two other surviving game used Nap Lajoie bats in existence, and unlike this one, the other two bats have blank barrels with no Lajoie signature stamping. The bat comes with a LOA from PSA/DNA (1B15898) for the game use and has been graded a solid GU 8.

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