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As the 1953 season dawned, Jackie Robinson had graduated from being known primarily as the first African American to play in the 20th century into an integral part of the Brooklyn Dodger juggernaut that ruled the National League. By now Jackie was joined by several other former Negro Leaguers including Roy Campanella, Don Newcombe, Junior Gilliam and Joe Black, but Jackie never stopped in his drive to bring racial change to every corner of American life.

His position as not only one of the premier players in the game but also a respected spokesperson on racial issues enabled him to force the integration of many formerly whites-only hotels and restaurants patronized by the Dodgers. His biggest accomplishment in this regard occurred during the 1953 season when he finally succeeded in integrating St. Louis’ 5-Star Chase Park Hotel. 1953 was also a year of change regarding his position on the team. The arrival of Junior Gilliam meant Jackie would go from an everyday second baseman to everyday utility man. His days playing ball for UCLA and the Monarchs and general athleticism had prepared him for playing virtually all positions on a ball field except pitcher and catcher.

In the 1953 season, Jackie played in 136 games, the most, 76, in left field and the rest divided between all four infield spots. Despite being a man without a permanent position, Jackie batted .329 with 34 doubles, seven triples and a dozen homers. His on-base percentage was an enviable .425 and his 95 RBI helped Brooklyn repeat as the NL’s pennant winners in 1953. Though a well-traveled 34 years of age, his legs still had 17 stolen bases left in them and he scored 107 of the Dodgers runs. That fall, the Dodgers met their arch-rivals, the New York Yankees. Up to this point in his career, Jackie had played in three World Series, all against the Yanks, and managed to hit just .212 against them. However, 1953 would be different. Playing in all six games, Robinson pounded out eight hits including two doubles, good for a .320 average, third best on the team. Unfortunately, despite Jackie’s hitting and the what historians call the best Brooklyn Dodger team ever assembled, the dreaded Yankees prevailed 4 games to 2.

This offered bat was used by Jackie Robinson during that pivotal 1953 season. Surviving factory records enable PSA/DNA to definitively date this bat to the Jackie’s 1953 pennant-winning season. This bat’s combination weight of 34.7 ounces and 35-inch length corresponds to the order placed on June 19th specifying several 34-ounce/35-inch R17 model bats. According to PSA/DNA it is common for vintage bats to vary in weight as much 1.5 ounces from their ordered weight. Jackie’s Hillerich & Bradsby R17 model bat is un-cracked and shows evidence of excellent use. There is very slight checking from repeated ball contact present on the back barrel and a very small chip is missing from the knob. There are many ball marks complete with stitch impressions that can be seen on the left and back barrel along with cleat imprints.

There are a few red bat rack paint streaks still visible on the barrel. Original stamping on the barrel is very legible as is the center brand. The model number “R17” is stamped into the knob. The bat has taken on a golden-brown patina from age, giving this bat a very appealing display quality. Despite Jackie Robinson’s popularity in his playing days, game used bats attributed to his use from his prime are rather hard to come by. This example, in un-cracked condition and with its attractive coloration, is certainly one of the finest. The bat comes with a LOA from PSA/DNA (H53516) for the game use and has been graded a solid GU 8. 

Please note that this lot has a 25% Buyer’s Premium (28% if payment is made using a credit card and/or is not paid within 10 days of invoice). Goldin Auctions will be donating 10% of the winning bid price to The Jackie Robinson Foundation.

Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $20,000.00
Current Bid: $24,000.00
Number Bids: 3
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