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    Description

    One of the two earliest Gehrig bats known!

    1922-23 Lou Gehrig Game Used Sidewritten Bat, PSA/DNA GU 10. "Although Hartford watches Gehrig go with regret," reported the Hartford Courant on August 30, 1924, "Local fans on the whole are delighted to see him make his way to the big show and will pull for him to develop into a genuine big leaguer." For the better part of two seasons the stocky first baseman had seen his fanbase swell at the Hartford Senators home park of Clarkin Field, where his prodigious home run clouts had earned him the nickname, "the Eastern Babe," after the Eastern League in which Hartford competed. In 504 plate appearances in 1924 prior to that telephone call from the Bronx, Gehrig had launched thirty-seven round-trippers while batting a sizzling .369 and slugging nearly one hundred points better than the next closest Eastern Leaguer.

    Gehrig had enjoyed a brief, late-season debut with the 1923 World Championship team prior to his permanent call-up, hitting his first of 493 career home runs (and bringing home Babe Ruth for the first of dozens of times) on September 27th. Eighteen days later, he'd sign an endorsement contract with Hillerich & Bradsby, forever after receiving bats with his facsimile signature burnt into the barrel.

    The absence of that facsimile signature on the barrel of the offered lumber establishes this as one of only two known pre-endorsement models from the Iron Horse, placing the enormously important relic into the legend's youthful hands as either a member of the Columbia University team, the Hartford Senators, the New York Yankees, or possibly all three. "Block lettered" bats were only issued by the H&B factory to athletes not under contract.

    Factory sidewriting on the barrel of the battle-scarred truncheon reads, "40 oz., Lou Gehrig, 4-22-25," a date that falls just over a month short of the start of the Hall of Fame first baseman's legendary consecutive games streak. Its return on this date strongly suggests that at least some of the "heavy use" (as characterized by the experts at PSA/DNA) can be attributed to Big League play. Leading authenticator John Taube explains in his lengthy letter of examination that it was quite common for bats to see use years after its production date, providing a photo in the paperwork of Babe Ruth in 1932 holding a bat produced no later than 1930.

    The earliest entry in H&B's factory ordering records for Gehrig dates to April 8, 1925, calling for a thirty-five and a half inch (35.5") "Old Hornsby" model weighing thirty-nine to forty ounces (39-40 oz.). Nineteen caliper readings on the subject bat perfectly match those specs, suggesting that this sidewritten gamer is the genetic forebear of Gehrig's earliest documented signature models.

    The historic war club, one of the most significant bats Heritage has ever had the privilege to present to the collecting community, is uncracked and coated in ball marks and cleat divots. Remnants of the original shipping label affixed to send the bat back to Louisville for duplication is still visible. A bit of grain checking on back barrel speaks to thunderous power of a burly youngster on the brink of immortality. LOA from PSA/DNA, GU 10.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2020
    22nd-23rd Saturday-Sunday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 16
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 4,139

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