Holiday Auction Closing December 8, 2018
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 12/9/2018

Babe Ruth game used bats are about as rare as they are desirable. When one does come on the market, it is typically a Hillerich & Bradsby product because that is the stick Ruth usually swung throughout his career. However, in the late 1920’s – the very height of Ruth’s slugging powers – another bat company temporarily convinced the Babe to use their product: The Hanna Bat Company. The Athens, Georgia company had developed a "Steel Tempered" finish that prevented checking (grain swelling) from repeated ball contact. As the game’s premier slugger, this was a great selling point and Ruth, along with other top stars like Lou Gehrig and Jimmie Foxx, began using the Hanna bats. Hillerich & Bradsby eventually developed their own finish that cut down on checking, and by the early 1930’s most players had switched back to a Louisville Slugger model. What we have here is a 1927-1930 dated Babe Ruth game used Hanna bat. Obviously, collectors desire any Ruth gamer, but that this dates to the Babe’s greatest seasons and is not the usually encountered H&B product but the scarcer Hanna, makes this bat quite extraordinary.

Unlike Hillerich & Bradsby whose copious records make dating bats very easy, Hanna Bat Company records no longer exist. Still, there are some telltale signs that date this bat to the 1927-1930 period. The first is the lack of a patent stamp on the bat. 1930 was a transitional year where Hanna began stamping this into their bats. The “bat” center brand also helps date the bat as the company switched to an all-type logo around 1931. The model number “TA 126” is stamped above the bat center brand. The store/catalog model number attributed to Ruth model bats available to the public was “5”. The “12” model number is unique and considered a professional model designation. The barrel is stamped with “GEORGIA DRIVER RUTH TYPE STEEL TEMPER. The bat is 36 inches in length, consistent with the length of the bats Ruth used in the late 1920’s and what is expected for a 1927-1930 Babe Ruth gamer. The bat weighs in at a Ruthian 42 ounces. Although the Babe ordered bats in a range of weights, his heavy weight is what most collectors desire in a Ruth bat from this period. The weight “41” has been stamped into the knob, something not found on Hanna’s store/catalog model bats and another feature distinguishing this bat as a professional model.

The bat is un-cracked and shows heavy use. There is a chip off the knob and the barrel has ball marks and stitch impressions. True to Hanna’s boast, there is only slight dead wood on the bat’s barrel from repeated ball contact. The handle has a slight discoloration to it and heavy cleat marks are found just below the barrel. Please go to our website for detailed photos. As far Babe Ruth game used bats go, this is a real choice piece of wood. The uncommon manufacturer, real Ruthian game use and the fact that it dates to the years Ruth was at the height of his career makes this the essential Babe Ruth bat. This bat comes with a Letter of Authenticity from the bat experts at MEARS (315812), who have graded this museum piece an A7.

Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $3,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $31,200.00
Number Bids: 24
Auction closed on Sunday, December 9, 2018.
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