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    Description

    Billy Martin recounts acquiring this bat and gifting it to our consignor's father in his autobiography!

    1951 Joe DiMaggio Final Game Used & Signed Bat with Extraordinary Provenance, PSA/DNA GU 10.

    "I feel like I have reached the stage where I can no longer produce for my club, my manager, and my teammates. I had a poor year, but even if I had hit .350, this would have been my last year. I was full of aches an pains and it had become a chore for me to play. When baseball is no longer fun, it's no longer a game."

    Throughout thirteen seasons of service to the New York Yankees, nobody made the game look easier than Joe DiMaggio, whether showcasing the prettiest swing in baseball history or tracking down a long fly ball across the vast acreage of center field. But even the immortals of the game are ultimately undone by the relentless assault of Father Time. A decade after supplying our national pastime with one of its most dazzling achievements--his fifty-six-game hitting streak of 1941--Joltin' Joe took his final baseball bow, setting sail for retirement atop a river of World Championship champagne.

    Fellow Monument Park resident Billy Martin wrote of the occasion in his famous autobiography "BillyBall." We excerpt that text here:

    "Joe retired after the 1951 season, but I managed to get the last bat he ever used. He used to rub his bats down with a mixture of olive oil and resin to get a good grip. That was before they started using pine tar.

    After the final game of the 1951 World Series against the Giants, I saw that bat in the rack and I took it and put it in my locker. Joe saw me take it and he didn't say a thing. In fact, he gave me some other stuff--the specially constructed shoe he wore to protect his heel and some scotch that somebody had given him. I don't have the shoe anymore and I don't know what became of the scotch, but I still have the bat.

    A few years ago, I got a call from the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown asking me if I would donate Joe's last bat to them. I said nothing doing. I had given it to a friend, Louis Figone. Louis and I went to grammar school together and our mothers had grown up together. He lives in El Cerrito, California now and he has been a loyal and faithful friend for almost fifty years. In fact, Louis owns racehorses and he had a horse recently that he named BillyBall. The horse went on to be named California Horse of the Year."

    In a lengthy letter of provenance, Vicki Figone, the daughter of Martin's good friend, tells the tale of DiMaggio's reunion with his last lumber over three decades after his 1951 farewell. She writes:

    "The location was Golden Gate Fields Race Track Turf Club, located in Albany, CA, sometime during the Horse Racing season (Jan thru June )in 1983 or 1984. I was at the track with my father, Lewis Figone, and Billy Martin was supposed to meet us there that day. I remember hearing that Joe DiMaggio was showing up at the track as well. When I heard about Mr. DiMaggio, I immediately jumped in the car and drove home to get the bat that I was always told was the last one Joe DiMaggio had ever played with.

    When I returned back to the track Billy was sitting at dad's table and pointed to where Mr. DiMaggio was. Somehow I ended up in a somewhat private area the end of the turf club, with a photographer (most likely the race track one) where I introduced myself to Mr. DiMaggio and asked him to sign the bat. He immediately said to me "Where did you get this bat? It was the last one I ever played with." My answer was "Billy Martin gave it to my dad many years ago."

    Mr. DiMaggio smiled and sat down and signed the bat. I did not ask him to sign the year, along with his autograph, he just put 1951 under his name. The photographer took photos of Mr. DiMaggio signing the bat, as well as photos of Mr. DiMaggio sitting with me and my friend while he was signing it too. Later on that afternoon Mr. DiMaggio and Billy were sitting together, most likely at my dad's table in the Turf Club, and the photographer took photos of the two of them together as well. I'm pretty sure that when I met Joe DiMaggio that day, Billy had already seen him when I was out getting the bat, and mentioned that I was going to be showing up soon with it because Mr. DiMaggio seemed very comfortable with the photographer taking photos and my asking him for the autograph."

    The photographs to which Ms. Figone refers are all viewable at our online listing, and will be delivered with the bat to its winning bidder. DiMaggio appears pleased to see his old lumber again after so many years, the signature model Hillerich & Bradsby D29L being the format that the Yankee Clipper favored in the closing seasons of his Hall of Fame career. Other than the 9/10 black sharpie signature which DiMaggio applies in one of the included photos, the bat appears unchanged from his final plate appearance, an eighth inning double in the clinching Game Six in the Bronx. The experts at PSA/DNA characterize the game use as "outstanding," noting a multitude of ball marks on the left barrel, green rack streaks and a heavy coat of pine tar on the uncracked handle. Length is thirty-six inches (36"), weight thirty-five ounces (35.1 oz.). But the extraordinary appeal of this final bat from one of the most important careers in baseball history is quite simply immeasurable. LOA from PSA/DNA, GU 10. Letter of provenance from daughter of Billy Martin's friend. Original photographs of DiMaggio signing bat. Full LOA from Beckett Authentication Services. Full LOA from PSA/DNA.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2021
    21st-22nd Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 39
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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