Babe Ruth Auction to Benefit Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum
Search By:
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 3/6/2016
There are some artifacts you come across that just have that certain "magical" look and feel about them. This is one of those pieces: a game used Babe Ruth Hillerich & Bradsby bat dating from the famous "Murderer's Row" era. As the 1926 season dawned, Babe Ruth was 31 years-old. The previous decade of incredible statistical output was only matched by his lust for the fast life. Thirty-one was ancient in baseball years and The Babe knew he needed to keep ahead of the youngsters like Lou Gehrig and tony Lazzeri who were nipping at his heals. Always one on the cutting edge, The Babe became one of the first ball players to employ a person trainer and he spent the entire winter working out in Artie McGovern's New York gym. When the 1926 season began, The Babe was in the best shape of his life, promptly going on a tear that went down as one of the best single-season offensive performances before or since. Ruth hit American pitching at a .372 clip, clubbing 47 of his trademark homers and knocking in 146 of the 788 Yankees runs that year. Powered by Ruth's bat, the Yanks swept into the World Series. Ruth's offensive onslaught continued into the post season, hitting an even .300 including four home runs against the Cardinals. This was the year that the famous story of the Babe promising to hit a home run in the World Series for a sick boy comes from. Eleven year-old Johnny Sylvester was recovering from an accident in a New Jersey hospital. Somehow Babe Ruth was made aware of his condition and The Babe sent Johnny two ball, one signed by the Yankees and the other by the Cardinals. Most importantly was the not Ruth included which read ""I'll knock a homer for you on Wednesday". Wednesday was Game 4 and The Babe actually hit THREE homers in the game. After the Series Ruth visited Johnny in his hospital room, much to the delight of the press whose melodramatic reporting turned the episode into baseball legend and capped off one of the best seasons in The Babe's career - the same season that this extraordinary bat dates to. The Hillerich & Bradsby R2 model bat measures 36”in length and weights a Ruthian 41oz. Records in Ruth’s Louisville Slugger archives describe this model as “His #1 Small”. “Small” refers to the smaller knob that was that was preferred by Ruth during the 1925-1926 seasons and the C5-A center brand is of the type used on bats produced during the 1925-26 seasons. The condition of this bat is nothing short of amazing. The beautiful un-cracked ash finish has been honed to a solid rich brown that over the decades has taken on a glowing patina. The "George "Babe" Ruth" facsimile autograph and the other stamping remains deep and readily legible. As you’d want from a bat used by The Babe, the area of the left barrel shows excellent use: from photographs we know that the Babe customarily held his bat with the label facing down. Swinging from the left side, when he made contact it was the left barrel that bore the impact of the ball. Looking at the left barrel of this gamer we can see there are several ball marks with stitch impressions from where Ruth really got a hold of a few of ‘em. There is some checking from the repeated ball contact on that left barrel and 90 year-old cleat impressions are visible on the right and back barrel and on the bats handle. The barrel and knob ends show some surface scuffs from storage and contact with the ground, perhaps from the big man himself leaning on it like we see in hundreds of photographs. There are small depressions in the honed surface of the right barrel that have been repaired, mentioned here only for full disclosure. Along with this bat's historical significance and visual beauty, it also comes with a solid provenance. The bat was obtained from Ruth by Ted Leaper, in whose family this bat remained until 2013. In the Roaring Twenties Ted Leaper was manager of the Paramount Theater, Paramount Pictures' Manhattan flagship on Broadway. When the theater opened its doors in 1926, Leaper generated great publicity by admitting ball players free of charge which added to the prestige of The Paramount. Leaper quickly became the recipient of a massive collection of game used bats and signed ball from the grateful ball players he admitted. A truly Cooperstown-worthy artifact dating from the very height of Ruth's magical career. The condition, provenance and that it dates from the very height of Ruth's career combine to make this a truly magical bat. PSA/DNA have agreed, awarding this bat the Letter of Authenticity grade of GU 9 (1B05721). LOA from Leaper family. Goldin Auctions will be donating 5% of the winning bid price of this lot and all lots in this auction to the Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum.
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $50,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $146,400.00
Number Bids: 11
Auction closed on Sunday, March 6, 2016.
Email A Friend
Ask a Question
Have One To Sell

Auction Notepad


You may add/edit a note for this item or view the notepad:  

Submit    Delete     View all notepad items