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    1923-26 Babe Ruth Game Used Home Run Bat. In the history of competitive sport, there has been no single figure that has so radically altered a game's status quo as did the great Bambino, burying baseball's Dead Ball era with a barrage of long ball blasts. The old guard, used to a game of singles and sacrifice bunts, moving runners along, never knew what hit them. Al Stumpf's biography of Ty Cobb recounts an apocryphal conversation in which the fiery legend laments "that fat ass named Babe Ruth came into the league and nearly destroyed the game of baseball." But the fans clearly sided with the Babe, and the Yankee slugger's feats of strength packed the stands, arguably saving the sport from the 1919 Black Sox scandal that threatened to sink our national pastime. And this love affair with the long ball survives to this day, continuing to play the leading role in the game's most memorable occasions, from the 1961 and 1998 chases to Thomson's and Mazeroski's game-winners to Aaron's and Bonds' hunts for the Babe himself.

    It is for these reasons that the piece we present here, an actual Babe Ruth home run bat, ranks as one of the most important and desirable pieces in the collecting hobby. It represents that seismic shift in the way the greatest game on earth is played, one of the most crucial points in baseball's evolution. Holding this forty-two ounce behemoth of a Hillerich & Bradsby in one's hands is a treat that every true lover of the game should experience at least once.

    In every regard, this thirty-five and three-quarter inch signature model bat registers elite status, meriting nothing less than a perfect score of A10 from noted authenticator Dave Bushing. He notes the "Perfect example of the hitting surface for label down left handed batters unique to Babe Ruth," with use characterized as "Heavy," and evident to the touch. Pock marksinflicted as Ruth knocked the dirt off his spikes in the batter's box dot the surface as well. But the most noteworthy scar to the deeply toned lumber is the notch carved at the one o'clock position of the center label oval, which recalls the days when gunslingers would record kills on the handles of their pistols, but here represents a ball that the Babe sent over the wall. Ruth's practice of notching bats in this fashion is well-documented, and Bushing notes that this "...home run notch in the outer right oval [is] similar in length, depth and location to other known HR notched Ruth bats."

    Top bat expert John Taube has been able to narrow the era of this remarkable artifact to the earliest years of the House that Ruth Built, noting that the labeling period is 1921 to 1931, but the thickness of the handle and the size of the knob denote a thinner range. Once again, the letter of authenticity heaps praise upon the piece, stating, "The bat is 'Ruthian' in every respect. This is one of the nicest Ruth bats that I have had the pleasure to authenticate."

    We at Heritage Auction Galleries are humbled by the opportunity to present such a national treasure to the collecting world. As we have said many times before, Babe Ruth is so much more than just a famous athlete-he is a symbol of America itself, of rising up from adversity, of the boldness and vitality of a young nation. One can't help but feel inspired in the presence of this tool used by a poor kid from a Baltimore orphanage to become the world's most famous man. LOA from Dave Bushing. LOA from Vince Malta. LOA from John Taube.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2006
    28th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 3,916

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $9) per lot.

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