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    Rajah pulls even with the Babe!

    1961 Roger Maris Game Used & Signed Bat Attributed to 60th Home Run, PSA/DNA GU 9. The ghost of Babe Ruth had haunted the M&M Boys for the entirety of the 1961 season, so it seemed only fitting that Roger Maris would pull even with the mighty Bambino against the team representing Ruth's old hometown. Baltimore Orioles right-hander Jack Fisher had surrendered a single to Maris during the first run through the Yankees order, but with two outs and the bases empty in the bottom of the third, Maris bounced a rocket off the facing of the second deck of the right field stands at Yankee Stadium for the sixtieth home run of his greatest year. It ricocheted back onto the field of play, where Orioles outfielder Earl Robinson dutifully retrieved it and heaved it back to the infield as a souvenir from the second man to reach five dozen home runs in a season.

    We don't know where that ball is today, but this is almost certainly the bat that sent it on its historic ride. The signature model Hillerich & Bradsby A92 appears to be identified as such by the 1961 American League MVP himself, who inscribes the barrel, "To Bill, Best Wishes to a good club house man, Roger Maris #60, 9-26-61."

    The identity of the recipient is Billy Nizer, a schoolboy who served from 1959 through 1961 as the clubhouse attendant for the visiting teams at Baltimore's Memorial Stadium. Nizer's widow reported that the Yankees were particularly fond of the youngster, even pitching in for a tip for his services large enough to allow him to buy a car after they had clinched the pennant in Baltimore.

    Of course, given the fact that Maris' 60th home run was hit in the Bronx, it's likely that Nizer was not present at the game and that Maris entrusted a member of the Orioles to bring this bat home to him. Nizer did not travel with the team.

    The experts at PSA/DNA have determined that Maris used different bats for his 60th and 61st home runs, an important detail as the latter is properly housed at the Baseball Hall of Fame. They remain cautious in a definitive attribution to the former, however, concluding:

    "After a thorough examination of this Roger Maris professional model bat and its player use characteristics, it is our opinion that the bat is authentic, and was game used by Maris during the referenced labeling period. Taking into account the evidence at hand, it is our opinion the bat was signed by Maris on the evening of September 26, 1961, after hitting his record tying 60th home run of the season. Direct attribution as to the use of the bat to hit the 60th home run cannot be confirmed nor denied."

    The bat measures thirty-five inches (35") in length and weighs thirty-two and a half ounces (32.5 oz.), perfectly matching factory ordering records. The bat exhibits excellent use with ball marks, stitch impressions and blue rack streaks. The lightly pine-tarred handle is cracked, and we note that Maris had two at-bats in the September 26th game after his home run. A letter of provenance from the widow of Billy Nizer, who passed away at the tragically early age of thirty-seven in 1981, is included. LOA from PSA/DNA, GU 9. Letter of provenance from widow of Orioles clubhouse man. Full LOA from PSA/DNA (autograph).


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2017
    10th Sunday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 15
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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