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    The bat that changed the game forever...

    1920-22 Babe Ruth Game Used Bat with Polo Grounds Bat Exhibition Provenance, PSA/DNA GU 10.
    "I wish him all the luck in the world," Yankees teammate Frank "Home Run" Baker told the press midway through the 1921 season. "He has everybody else, including myself, hopelessly outclassed."

    It's likely that the aging star of Connie Mack's "$100,000 Infield" felt a bit sheepish about his own moniker as he shared a dugout with Ruth, having never put more than a dozen into the seats during any season of his own career. It had taken the Babe just twenty-five games to match Baker's best during that spectacular 1921 season, one commonly considered the finest of Ruth's storied career. One of those early clouts, off inaugural Hall of Fame classmate Walter Johnson, cleared the high center field wall of Griffith Stadium, landing 520 feet from home plate. Two months later, Ruth escaped Navin Field with a shot estimated between 575 and 600 feet, the longest verified home run in Major League history. He'd clear the double-deck roof of the Polo Grounds two weeks after that.

    By season's end, the Babe would belt at least one 500-plus foot blast in each of the eight American League ballparks.

    And so it was not just the frequency but also the impossible trajectory of Ruth's home runs that etched his name ever more indelibly into living American folklore in 1921, and slammed the door forever on the Dead Ball Era. The decadent Roaring Twenties had found its perfect athletic representative, larger than life in every way.

    Few sporting relics are as instantly evocative of their original master as the presented signature model Hillerich & Bradsby, an impossibly heavy slab of ash measuring a yard in length (36") and a few grams shy of forty-five ounces (44.6 oz.) In the rudimentary physical equation of force equals mass times speed, we find the first clue to the puzzle in the bat's wrist-straining heft, one of the weightiest Ruth gamer ever to cross the hobby's auction block.

    Leading bat expert John Taube has narrowed the possible vintage of this historic relic to orders placed between September 4, 1920 and March 22, 1922, establishing that record-setting fifty-nine home run season of 1921 as the most likely source of the outstanding use that is apparent in the form of grain separation on the left barrel and a speckling of divots from Ruth's spikes. The concentration of contact marks on the left barrel is a key Ruth trait, correct for his label-down left-handed swing. Lathe marks appear at knob and barrel end.

    The remnants of an ancient adhesive label on the left barrel speaks to the fascinating history of this relic as part of an early 1940's Polo Grounds display of game used bats and uniforms from superstar players who had seen action at the storied upper Manhattan ballpark. These important mementos were sold at the end of the summer to raise money for charity, and this Ruth bat was sold to Taube by the man whose employer had purchased the bat from that Polo Grounds sale and gifted it to him when he was a teenager.

    The attribution to Ruth's earliest Yankees service, the exceptional game use evident and the special Polo Grounds provenance elevates this particular specimen to the pinnacle of desirability. This is the fulcrum upon which the fortunes of the sport tilted, from the hit-and-run strategy of the Dead Ball Era to the high-flying heroics of the ascendant Live Ball paradigm. It's unquestionably one of the most important game used bats that Heritage has ever offered. LOA from PSA/DNA, GU 10.

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    Auction Dates
    February, 2018
    24th-25th Saturday-Sunday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 7
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,997

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