Description1947 Ted Williams Triple Crown Season Game Used Vault Marked Bat. It was a baseball transaction which would have made even the 1920 Babe Ruth covenant pale by comparison. For a brief moment, in late April 1947, Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey and Yankees owner Dan Topping had reached an agreement to swap Ted Williams for Joe DiMaggio, each (properly) believing that the dimensions of his home park better suited his legendary rival. Only when Yawkey demanded that Yogi Berra come over to Fenway as well was the deal scuttled. No Green Monster for Joltin' Joe. No short right field porch for the Splendid Splinter.
Each would more than make due with the unflattering idiosyncrasies of his home stadium as the 1947 season progressed, but as brilliant a year as DiMaggio recorded in the Bronx, Williams' would rank among the greatest in the game's history. The final tallies are astonishing--first place rankings for batting average (.343), home runs (32), runs batted in (162), runs scored (125), slugging (.634) and total bases (335). If Williams had been robbed of the MVP Award when voters valued DiMaggio's streak more than Williams .406 average in 1941, the loss to DiMaggio in 1947 was larceny worthy of Bernie Madoff.
Presented is one of the finest Ted Williams game used bats known to the hobby, shipped to "the greatest hitter that ever lived" on April 14, 1947 according to Hillerich & Bradsby's order log. The bat exhibits "excellent use" according to leading hobby expert John Taube, whose letter of examination attends. He notes "several ball marks, deep stitch impressions and cleat marks on the left barrel," and "a few red and green bat rack streaks," along with "a light coat of pine tar on the handle. The player use characteristics are perfect for Williams. Period photography documents Ted at the plate gripping the bat with the center brand up or down. With the center brand turned down, not the traditional grip, the bat is positioned to contact the ball on the surface of the left barrel above the branded player name." Williams' number "9" appears on the knob in vintage black paint, the style perfectly matching other known Williams bats documented in the hobby. Despite the strong use, the bat remains free of cracks.
Williams' discriminating taste when it came to the tools of his trade is the stuff of legend. An H&B rep tells the story of Williams complaining about the taper on a new order of bats. He sent them back to the factory, where staff measured the grip with calibrators against the model he'd been using. The new crop was 5/1000ths of an inch off. J.A. Hillerich, Jr. once tested Williams with six bats. Five were identical, the sixth a half ounce more. The slugger picked it out instantly.
Only in this context, and in that of the brilliance of Williams' 1947 Triple Crown season, can the importance of the offered lot be fully appreciated. When Ted Williams felt that he was at his best, during the finest season of his career, this bat was held in his hands. It was one of two bats returned for duplication in August 1948 and stamped with the factory coding "W155" on the knob to serve as a template for future orders of the W155 model which was Williams only model through August 1950, at which time he requested a new model (W165) be made.
Shortly before Williams' death he applied a blue sharpie signature to his faithful old friend, which survives with 10/10 perfection. It must have been quite a reunion. We'd bet that, even then, The Kid could have held it in his hands and recognized his old bat blindfolded. Length thirty-five inches. Weight thirty-three point one ounces. Grade PSA GU 10. As an autographed (one of just a handful of signed Williams game used bats), vault marked bat dating to Williams' Triple Crown season, this represents the finest Williams bat extant. LOA from PSA/DNA. Auction LOA from James Spence Authentication (autograph). Pre-certified by PSA/DNA (autograph).
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