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    1914-30 Frank "Home Run" Baker (Attributed) Game Used Bat, PSA/DNA GU 8. It's difficult to imagine in the modern age, when Major League sluggers have turned outfield bleachers into veritable hard-hat zones with their endless long balls, that a man could merit the nickname "Home Run" when he managed to hit fewer than one hundred in his entire thirteen-season career. It shows us just how much this game has changed from the Dead Ball era that saw the Hall of Fame third baseman as one of the most menacing batters in the sport's history.

    The arrival of Babe Ruth on the scene, just as the physical make-up of the horsehide spheres changed, and the balls "came to life," was lamented by players like Ty Cobb, who believed that the national fascination with the home run that Ruth inspired in baseball fans was an affront to the very nature of the game. But before the Babe and the lively ball began their historic partnership, there was Frank "Home Run" Baker, rising to the top of the home run charts every season from 1911 through 1914 with eleven, ten, twelve and nine respectively.

    It was around the end of that league-leading power surge that the Philadelphia-based "A.J. Reach" company released its "The Burley" model bat, crafted from top-quality ash and available for retail sale to the public, but only available with barrel branding to professional athletes.

    This specimen features an ancient "Baker" burned into the barrel, one of several indicators pointing to use by the Hall of Fame slugger. The thirty-four-inch (34") length and forty-ounce (39.7 oz.) weight are likewise consistent with Baker's confirmed exemplars. About half a century ago, Louisville Slugger spokesman Jack McGrath was quoted as follows: "Baker used a bat antiquated even in his time. The handle was almost the size of the barrel. It was short, but almost like a piece of lead because it weighed up to forty-six ounces. There was no flex and it really was a wagon tongue."

    Does that description seem consistent with the offered bat?

    Finally, it stands to reason that the A.J. Reach company would reach out to local Philly stars to showcase its wares, and none were bigger than Baker. He clearly would have been a primary target for gaining a larger foothold in the market.

    The bat exhibits substantial use that appears in the form of multiple ball marks, light grain checking and a crack at the hefty handle. Some faint handwriting on the barrel appears to date to decades after the bat's production and thus likely was applied by a later owner. This is the first Baker bat we've offered in well over a decade! LOA from PSA/DNA, GU 8.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2020
    22nd-23rd Saturday-Sunday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 13
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 408

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