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    Sidewritten relic stands among finest Cobb lumber known!

    1919-22 Ty Cobb Game Used Bat, PSA/DNA GU 9. "A ball bat is a wondrous weapon," Cobb once reported, and arguably none in the sport's history have been as proficient in its use. Though Pete Rose famously knocked the Peach from his perch in 1985, it's only fair to report that Charlie Hustle recorded 14,053 at bats compared to Cobb's 11,434. Had the Hall of Fame's first inductee kept his average pace through another 2,600 at bats to match Rose's chances, he'd be the sole member of the 5,000 Hit Club. Cobb remains the career leader with a .366 batting average, a record as safe as any in American sport.

    So it's little wonder that many consider a Cobb game used bat to be the Holy Grail of the baseball collectibles world, and few could match the presented model in desirability. The Hillerich & Bradsby dash-dot-dash C28 earns its lofty status through the appearance of factory sidewriting, the most iron-clad provenance available in assuring that a bat was once used by the player in question. For the uninitiated, we explain that ballplayers used to return their preferred bats to the Hillerich & Bradsby factory to become a template for duplication, where the returned bats were affixed with a handwritten identifier (sidewriting) for cataloging and storage. Thus sidewriting not only places the bat definitively in the subject's hands, but assures it was a favorite as well.

    The "blank barrel" style of this bat is a bit unusual for a player under contract with Hillerich & Bradsby though not unprecedented, as expert John Taube's letter of examination provides an image of Joe Jackson holding a similarly unadorned Black Betsy. It is most likely that the unbranded model was sent to Cobb to allow him to try a variation on his standard model, with the factory sidewriting serving here as his figurative stamp of approval. Again we stress that this sidewriting is far more definitive in assuring use by Cobb than any stamped facsimile signature could provide.

    It is also noteworthy that two key Cobb characteristics are present on the subject bat: black tobacco stains from his practice of "seasoning" his lumber in such a manner, and small cleat impressions applied by his practice of knocking dirt off his spikes at the plate. We can see signs of the former beneath the outline of where the shipping label had been affixed, assuring it was there prior to the bat's factory return.

    The knob, handle and barrel dimensions allow Taube to assign the C28 model designation to the bat, a perfect match for the thirty-four and a half length as well. The thirty-five ounce weight is likewise correct for orders made in 1920 and 1921.

    Heavy use is evident in multiple ball marks, grain swelling and a repaired handle crack. The "Ty Cobb" factory sidewriting is challenging to see with the naked eye but springs to life in an ultraviolet spectrum, as our catalog photography indicates. Only the day of the month, "15," can be discerned from the digits forming the date.

    The first year of this bat's three-season labeling period would serve as the last of a dozen in which Cobb claimed the American League batting title with a staggering .384. His 1921 numbers were even better at .389, but his young Tigers teammate Harry Heilmann posted .394 to take the prize. In his early thirties, Cobb was still at the height of his considerable powers when he fell in love with this bat and sent it off to Louisville for cloning. LOA from PSA/DNA, GU 9.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2014
    22nd-23rd Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 13
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,890

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