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    1923-25 Babe Ruth Game Used Bat with Home Run Notch, SCD A9. The story of Babe Ruth is in many ways the story of America, the perfect manifestation of the notion that caused millions to cross the oceans with nothing in their pockets. In America, there was opportunity for all. Anybody could make it big. No matter who you were, where you were born, there was a chance at grabbing the brass ring.

    George Herman Ruth was certainly not the obvious candidate to become the most famous man in the world. Born to neglectful parents in a working class section of 1895 Baltimore, the young Ruth was essentially pawned off on the local Catholic missionary order and raised as an orphan at the St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys, where he lived from age seven to age nineteen, rarely visited by his birth family. His new family was the forgotten and disenfranchised, much like himself, the young boys who shared the dreams of those legions of "huddled masses" around the world. And for young Ruth, in the game of baseball, those dreams would come true.

    "Sometimes I still can't believe what I saw," remembered outfielder Harry Hooper, a Boston teammate of Ruth's. "This 19-year-old kid, crude, poorly educated, only lightly brushed by the social veneer we call civilization, gradually transformed into the idol of American youth and the symbol of baseball the world over -- a man loved by more people and with an intensity of feeling that perhaps has never been equaled before or since. I saw a man transformed into something pretty close to a god."

    Though the adolescent Babe joined Hooper's Red Sox as a pitcher, and many knowledgeable baseball historians have expressed the belief that Ruth's fierce southpaw delivery would have earned him a plaque at Cooperstown had he continued on that path, it surely goes without saying that it was the Babe's offensive mastery that brought about his deification. And the story really is almost Biblical: a young man from humble beginnings arrives on the scene to perform miracles with his thunderous bat, washing away the sins of the 1919 World Series scandal that threatened the Eden of our National Pastime. With a bat in his hands, Babe Ruth made the impossible possible. The fans came streaming back through the ballpark turnstiles again to bear witness, and the game was saved.

    Offered here is a piece that could quite convincingly be argued as the definitive artifact of the game of baseball. The logical progression that would bring one to this conclusion is difficult to dismiss. Babe Ruth is the greatest name in the history of the sport. Babe Ruth earned his fame by using a bat to hit home runs. This is a Babe Ruth home run bat. We would further suggest that this bat, in its status as the tool that brought a poor kid from an orphanage to the absolute heights of wealth and fame, is a fitting symbol of the American dream itself.

    The signature model Hillerich & Bradsby dates from the era of 1923 to 1925, when the great Bambino was packing the grandstands of the brand-new Yankee Stadium, and showering the right field bleachers with his prodigious blasts. An illness in 1925 cut Ruth's campaign short, but each of the first two seasons during which this bat could have seen action had the Babe running away with the home run title, smashing forty-one and forty-six respectively. A frame of reference: the Boston Red Sox hit thirty-four and thirty as a team during those years.

    In every regard, this bat takes on the ideal specifics of Ruth's favored lumber, from the length and weight of thirty-five inches and forty ounces respectively to the scored left-handed hitting surface from which at least one of his 714 career home runs was launched. We defer to the vast knowledge of the authenticators at SCD Authentic in this making this case, as they have identified the dark indentation below the barrel as proof. "Babe Ruth," they write in their letter of authenticity, "was also known to 'notch' his bats after hitting a home run. To the right of the center brand is one distinct mark which is vintage and original to the bat." The Babe's practice of "boning" his bats, flattening the hitting surface with a steer bone to create a wider ideal point of impact, is evident on the back of the barrel in a ten-inch strip of smoothed wood. This hitting surface shows "distinct stitch marks" from titanic collisions with Ban Johnson baseballs, and as Ruth knocked the dirt off his spikes in the batters box, he left small gouges in the wood of the barrel. The handle remains free of cracks, and ends at a knob bearing a carved identifier that allowed the Babe to locate it easily when it came time for him to approach the plate. This glorious convergence of preferred characteristics has inspired SCD Authentic to bestow upon the bat a grade of A9, a rating that has been topped only twice according to the SCDA population report, most notably by the "First Yankee Stadium Home Run" bat that sold in December 2004 for $1.26 million.

    A piece that could easily occupy a place of honor in either the Baseball Hall of Fame or the Smithsonian Museum, this priceless artifact is a link to an incredible era in the history of the game of baseball, and in the history of our nation at large. It is our sincere hope that the lucky winning bidder appreciates the responsibility he takes on as ward of such a special and important treasure. LOA from Dan Knoll & Dave Bushing/ SCD Authentic.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2005
    14th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 14
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,490

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