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    Description

    The only known Gibson gamer!

    1935 Josh Gibson Game Used Sidewritten Bat, PSA/DNA GU 9.
    Perhaps the most significant Negro League artifact ever to appear on the hobby's auction block, this extraordinary slab of ancient hickory links the greatest slugger of that segregated enterprise with its most fascinating executive, both names emblazoned on the barrel of the battle-scarred lumber. The former is a name familiar to even the most casual of baseball historians, the illustrious Josh Gibson, author of as many as 900 career home runs, a talent perhaps even greater than the immortal Babe Ruth himself. The other name is that of Pittsburgh Crawfords team owner W.A. "Gus" Greenlee, a powerful figure in Pittsburgh's Hill District, the cultural and business center for the African-American population of Steel City who rose to prominence as a boxing promoter, a jazz club proprietor and kingpin of one of the city's most lucrative gambling enterprises.

    The offered bat, the only example that has ever been definitively linked to Gibson, derives from the 1935 season, a year that saw the superstar catcher lead his Pittsburgh Crawfords to the Negro National League pennant. We find his name boldly stamped to the barrel of a Spalding 300 bat which exhibits evidence of "outstanding" game use, according to the experts at PSA/DNA. Ball marks and slight checking bear witness to Gibson's extraordinary power on the barrel, while cleat marks are apparent on the handle, cracked and repaired with five small nails.

    The connection to Greenlee comes with the Hillerich & Bradsby factory sidewriting on the bat's barrel, which reads, "'39 oz W.A. Greenlee 5-8-35 Negro Natl League Pittsburgh PA." The detailed letter of examination from PSA/DNA suggests that Greenlee, as team owner, likely assumed responsibility for the ordering of bats for his team. At thirty-six inches (36") in length and weighing just short of thirty-eight ounces (37.6 oz.) today, the hefty war club is similar in dimension to those wielded by Babe Ruth in the later years of his career, appropriate for generating the thunder for which each long ball artist was renowned.

    As the sole validated survivor from the arsenal of the greatest Negro Leaguer of them all, this is an artifact that ranks solidly in the top percentile of all game used bats in the hobby. LOA from PSA/DNA, GU 9.


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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2018
    24th-25th Saturday-Sunday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 9
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,289

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