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    Description

    1929-30 Babe Ruth Game Issued/Used Bat Given to Ty Cobb. The presented Babe Ruth signature model Hillerich & Bradsby, a white hickory style consistent with "His 5-24-27" model in the factory records, holds the unique and remarkable distinction of past ownership by the two greatest figures of pre-war twentieth century baseball. Though some of this treasure's secrets will remain forever buried beneath the sands of time, others are a matter of public record.

    We'll start the story at the end, when it came into the possession of a Laguna Beach, California resident named Frank Shields. We find this name in the address field of a tattered mailing label from the Hotel Port Shelby in Detroit. The writing on the label, as confirmed by James Spence Authentication, is that of Jimmy Austin, a former Major Leaguer who is linked to Cobb as the New York Highlanders third baseman in Charles Conlon's famous photograph, "Cobb Stealing Third." Shields and Austin were friends and neighbors in Laguna Beach, closing the link in the end portion of the chain.

    It is the Ruth-to-Cobb-to-Austin transfer that has been lost to history, but our consignor, the grandson of Shields, reports that is the tale passed down through the family, and the Detroit shipping label would lend credence. Surely Cobb could have been thrust into service by Austin to secure a Ruth bat for his friend back home in Laguna Beach, and this seems the most likely scenario.

    The consignor reports that his grandfather used the bat from time to time, and this post-Ruth activity has obscured any Ruth traits that may have placed the bat more firmly in his hands. Unquestionably this is a bat ordered by and shipped to the Bambino, but Taube stops short of assigning game use. He does note that a known Ruth gamer has tape rings similar to this model, but concedes that was a common modification for bats of the era and not unique to Ruth alone.

    The bat measures thirty-five inches in length and thirty-seven ounces in weight, crafted of white hickory which matches an example presented by Ruth to famed vaudeville comedian Joe E. Brown, one of the very first sports memorabilia collectors. Heavy use is apparent, with green bat rack streaks and a cracked handle secured with grip tape. A unique and important relic linking the two most revered figures in baseball lore. LOA from PSA/DNA.


    More information about Ty Cobb.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2013
    2nd-4th Thursday-Saturday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 17
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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