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    Description

    1977-79 Thurman Munson Game Used Bat, PSA/DNA GU 9 from The Bill Fundaro Collection. Two years of glory, one year of sadness. The three-season production range of the provided signature model Hillerich & Bradsby S44 assures some form of elite historical significance, a term that followed back-to-back World Championships with the brand of despair that only Gehrig's departure four decades earlier could match. Munson's death several hundreds yards short of a Canton, Ohio runway on August 2, 1979, just six days short of the ten-year anniversary of his Major League debut, brought an end to the life and career of one of the most beloved Yankees of the post-war era and marked the beginning of an uncommonly long and difficult era of struggle for the sport's most successful franchise.

    This key relic from that historic age of transition is one of just a handful of known late-career Munson bats, and one that leading PSA/DNA bat expert John Taube praises for "outstanding use" ultimately ended by an upper handle crack. Ball marks and rack streaks adorn the bat's pummeled surface, and moderate pine tar appears on the handle. Number "15" is written in vintage marker on knob. Length is thirty-five inches (35"), weight thirty-one ounces (30.8 oz.). The bat derives from the personal collection of Bill "Foul Ball Billy" Fundaro, a fifty-one-year veteran of the Detroit Tigers usher crew. LOA from PSA/DNA, GU 9. Letter of provenance from Bill Fundaro's daughter.


    More Information: The Bill Fundaro Collection

    They lovingly called him "Foul Ball Billy" during his fifty years of service to the Detroit Tigers franchise. The long-time usher got his start with the ballclub during the unforgettable season of 1968 that saw pitcher Denny McLain record what remains (likely for eternity) the last thirty-win season en route to World Championship glory. Fundaro's last season was 2019 and he passed away in October of last year after spending the 2020 season locked out of the gates of Major League Baseball by the global pandemic.

    Fundaro got his nickname from his primary role of retrieving balls off the screen behind the plate at Tiger Stadium and giving them to umpires or fans. In honor of his Golden Anniversary with the team, Fundaro threw out a first pitch in 2018, earning a loud ovation from the many fans who had come to know him like family.

    The ballplayers, both Tigers and visitors, likewise were drawn to Fundaro's unfailingly friendly demeanor, gifting him a wide array of game used bats and the like which appear upon the following pages. There's even a remarkable supply of material from beyond our national pastime, as Fundaro didn't rest during the baseball offseason, photographing Detroit Lions and Michigan Wolverines games and participating in a wide array of sports-related fundraising efforts. Heritage is please to present this remarkable evidence of a life well-lived, each item accompanied by a letter of provenance from Fundaro's daughter.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2021
    6th-8th Thursday-Saturday
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