Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Fifty-six in a row!

    1941 Joe DiMaggio Game Used Bat with Probable Hit Streak Attribution, PSA/DNA GU 7.
    Mathematics was never our strong suit in school, but a fascinating study of the laws of baseball probability authored by Josh Witten in 2009 attempts to numerically contextualize Joe DiMaggio's fabled 1941 hitting streak, a feat widely and properly considered one of the greatest in the history of American sports. While the Major League record books are awash in elite achievement, from Rose's hits to Ryan's strikeouts to Ripken's attendance, the DiMaggio hit streak stands alone as the most statistically improbable ever recorded in Major League history.

    Based upon the historical average Major League batting average of .262, and a 2,000 game career, the odds of a streak of fifty-six consecutive games with a hit are one in every 350,000 player careers (there have been approximately 17,000 players in Major League history to date). Even with DiMaggio's scorching batting average of .357 in 1941, the statistical probability that he would string together an unbroken chain of fifty-six games with a hit is one in every 11,500 seasons, suggesting an immortal, in-his-prime DiMaggio would have likely repeated the feat around the year A.D. 13,441.

    It has long been believed that the legendary center fielder used just three bats to construct his extraordinary streak of fifty-six games, and that only one has been identified from that trio. That specimen is known to have been gifted to DiMaggio's superstar teammate Tommy Henrich during or directly following the streak. It sold over a decade ago for a then-record $345,000 and today resides in the permanent collection of the Hillerich & Bradsby Museum in Louisville.

    Close inspection of the center brand of that Museum bat finds a stamping abnormality resulting in a very faint number "1" in the "125" numeral, and a downward bias of "125," a flaw identified as having appeared only in one of the three DiMaggio orders for bats made on 4/24/41, 7/1/41 or 7/3/41. As such, we can be assured that this bat, bearing the same center brand abnormality, was in Joltin' Joe's possession during the streak. The thirty-six inch (36") Rudy York (Y4) model weighs thirty-five and a half ounces (35.4 oz)--the latter stamped into the knob, consistent with ordering records. Thus we can identify this bat as one of twelve or thirteen such bats that were delivered in these three Streak-era orders.

    A fascinating quotation from DiMaggio and a twenty-one page scientific analysis document carry us the rest of the way toward the assertion, with high probability, that this is one of the missing Streak bats. The quotation appears in that analysis, reading:

    "I could order a dozen bats. They would all look alike, same size, same weight. But there's always one that feels different. That's the one I'd work on. I would dip it in olive oil. I'd sprinkle it with resin. I'd put a small flame to it. And when it was good and dry, I'd file it down with sandpaper. It would be hard and smooth and black. This was my bread and butter bat."

    Clearly DiMaggio prepared the offered specimen like a fine, Italian meal. Analysis utilizing infrared spectroscopy found clear evidence of chemical compounds consistent with heated oil and resin, and parallel scratches consistent with DiMaggio's stated practice of a sandpaper finish. "In conclusion," the text reads, "the FTIR infrared spectroscopy evidence for the application of olive oil to this bat's surface is very strong. There is additional evidence through the microscopic examination of the used DiMaggio signature Louisville Slugger 125 bat of some material on the surface that is consistent with the sprinkling of another material over the surface, which was then fused into the surface and contributed to the blackening of the surface."

    These black marks are particularly evident at the point of ball strikes, which appear with plenitude on the left, right and back barrel, with a particular concentration above and between the center and signature brands, correct for DiMaggio and for a period of great productivity. A degree of post-player use is likewise evident, not uncommon for pre-war lumber, and the primary factor in the reduction in grade from the considerably higher figure that fidelity to factory records and DiMaggio bat preparation and use alone would merit. It's an elite treasure simply as a memento of DiMaggio's immortal MVP and World Championship season of 1941, and a true hobby Grail as a likely participant in the greatest hit streak ever constructed. LOA from PSA/DNA, GU 7. Scientific analysis document from Anderson Materials Evaluation, Inc.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2018
    24th-25th Saturday-Sunday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,763

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    20% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 2 days left to consign to the 2019 August 17 - 18 Summer Platinum Night Sports Collectibles Auction - Dallas!

    Learn about consigning with us

    I am completely satisfied, more to the point, absolutely ecstatic, about not only the proceeds but the wonderful professional manner every aspect of my little consignment was handled.
    Bill R.,
    Green Bay, WI
    View More Testimonials

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2019 May 30  1915 Cracker Jack PSA Set Registry Auction - Dallas
    2019 May 30 1915 Cracker Jack PSA Set Registry Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED $1,406,927