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    One of the most important bats in the hobby

    1947 Jackie Robinson Game Used Bat, PSA/DNA GU 10--The Only Example Definitively Attributed to Historic Rookie Season!

    On Jackie Robinson's tombstone in Brooklyn's Cypress Hills Cemetery, just five miles from where Ebbets Field once stood, these words are engraved: "A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives." By that metric, no athlete in American sporting history is more important than the man who took the dangerous first step across baseball's shameful color line. Though Ruth and Cobb may stand taller in the sport's pantheon, from a purely sociological standpoint Robinson has no challenger in significance, and it's no stretch to say that Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and President Barack Obama would have been impossible without the forward momentum Robinson supplied to the cause of racial equality.

    Nearly lost in the massive shadow of that larger context is the brilliance of the man as a player, a decade of Major League service that matches that of the greatest era of Brooklyn Dodgers history. Among players whose Major League careers began after the Second World War, Robinson's .311 lifetime batting average finds him firmly within the top twenty. Six National League Championships in a ten-season span stands as a record to this day, and will likely endure for eternity.

    So while any relic consecrated by the touch of Jack Roosevelt Robinson is saturated in collecting intrigue, those few dating to his 1947 Rookie of the Year campaign distinguish themselves among the greatest treasures of the hobby. Presented is one of the most important game used bats ever to take a turn on the hobby's auction block, the one and only example that has been definitively attributed to Robinson's brave and perilous 1947 debut campaign.

    It entered the collecting hobby that year, as a 1992 letter from a season ticket holder at Ebbets Field reports. Margaret C. Payne writes, in part:

    "During this season I had season tickets for night, Saturday and Sunday Brooklyn Dodgers home games. I was known by the players and team personnel as I and my friends used to stand by the player runway under the stands and give the players tootsie-roll lollipops before the game. At one of the games, I saw Jackie Robinson crack this bat during his turn at bat. Immediately after this game, I ran down to the player's runway, contacted the Dodger batboy, and asked him for the cracked bat."

    A detailed letter of examination from PSA/DNA confirms that the signature model Hillerich & Bradsby perfectly matches two orders placed for Robinson in May of 1947 for an R17 format measuring thirty-four and a half inches (34.5") in length and a current thirty-five and four-tenths ounces (35.4 oz.) in weight. Beyond the perfect fidelity to factory ordering records, the experts celebrate the bat's "heavy use," noting plentiful ball marks, stitch impressions, cleat marks, green bat rack streaks and a lightly scored (and cracked, as per Payne's letter of provenance) handle.

    Today the bat's battle-scarred survival serves as a particularly fitting tribute to its original master, symbolizing that longest march from degradation to reverence. At its most basic level, a historical artifact lets us remember--the truly great pieces inspire. Unquestionably, this is one of the most inspiring pieces that Heritage has had the honor to present to the collecting community. LOA from PSA/DNA, GU 10.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2016
    27th-28th Saturday-Sunday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 29
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 3,717

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

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