Bat is documented in March 1907 "Sporting Life" article!1888 Adrian "Cap" Anson Game Used Bat, MEARS A10*!
ANSON CAN FURNISH A TREAT TO UP-TO-DATE PLAYERS. A BAT MUSEUM AT HIS CHICAGO HOME WELL WORTH LOOKING OVER - HARRY PEITZ STRIKES LUCK WHILE GAZING AT FAMOUS CLUBS. Pittsburg, March 19.--Editor, "Sporting Life."
Sitting in a corner of baseball headquarters, well wrapped up in paper, is a ball bat. This club is a noted one and the owner guards it carefully. Harry Peitz owns the stick. Last year the veteran chanced to meet Uncle Anson in Chicago. The chat drifted to bats. The old man brought a gleam of joy to Peitz's face by saying: 'Harry, come out to my house after the game and I will show you something to make your eyes water.' Peitz was on hand. The old man took him down to the cellar. There piled in racks were hundreds of bats, the genuine hickory kind, which would be stolen, even if allowed to lay on a crowded field. Anson allowed Peitz to take his pick of the bludgeons. The Premier grabbed the chance...
Now, will you grab it?
Proudly presented in this Heritage Platinum Night auction is the most flawlessly documented 19th century bat ever made available to the collecting hobby, a gift from Anson himself to a member of the 1906 Pittsburg Pirates (incorrectly identified as "Harry" rather than Henry Peitz). The special gift is recounted in an article written over a century ago, a photocopy of which will accompany the stunning relic from baseball's first 3,000 Hit Club member.
The blank-barreled hickory weapon exhibits moderate use, the handle bowing over the passing of the decades. The rough finishing, particularly evident at the knob and barrel ends, indicate that this bat was fashioned by hand rather than factory equipment, which would likewise account for the absence of markings.
An ancient piece of paper remains affixed to the barrel, measuring approximately four inches square and quite worn and darkened with age. The text is still legible, however, announcing, "This bat was given to Heine Peitz by Capt. Adrian Cap Anson/Pittsburg Nats." Penned directly onto the dark hickory is further text that also challenges the reader, but allows the following to be discerned: "This bat was used in the campaign of 1888 Chicago B.C. by our beloved Adrian C. Cap Anson [illegible] by League Batsmen."
The stocky build and considerable heft of the relic instantly evokes the nineteenth century game, when thick handles and dead balls allowed lumber like this to survive indefinitely. The bat tips the scales at thirty-nine ounces, packed into a well-balanced thirty-six inches of length. The hickory stock makes evidence of use difficult to view, but both SCD Authentic/MEARS and PSA/DNA attest to its existence.
The first great star of our National Pastime, Anson debuted at age nineteen with the 1871 Rockford Forest Citys of the National Association, laboring twenty-seven years in a Major League uniform prior to his 1897 retirement. His 1888 campaign, from which this bat derives, is rated among the finest of that lengthy term of service, with National League-leading tallies for average (.344), slugging (.899) and runs batted in (84). When considering seminal artifacts from the organized game, scant few could challenge the importance of this incredible relic, certain to reign as the crown jewel of even the finest of private early baseball collections. LOA from SCD Authentic/MEARS, A10* (asterisk indicates "significant historical importance.") LOA from PSA/DNA.
Guide Value or Estimate: $150,000 - up.
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