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    Early "nickname" model is pictured in "Smithsonian Baseball" book

    1959 Roberto "Momen" Clemente Game Used Bat, PSA/DNA GU 10. He lived a hero of Pittsburgh and died a hero of Nicaragua, his body forever lost at sea following the crash of his overloaded earthquake relief plane in the coastal waters of his native Puerto Rico. Already guaranteed baseball immortality through his eighteen brilliant seasons of Major League service and his newly-minted key to the 3,000 Hit Clubhouse, Roberto Clemente achieved the closest thing to baseball sainthood that tragic last day of 1972, assuring that any artifact once blessed by his touch would be held in the highest of collecting esteem.

    As a child, the pensive young Roberto had earned the nickname "Momen," a playful teasing of his habit of avoiding distraction by answering "momentito" (just a moment, in Spanish) when interrupted by his family. Rookie-era bats are particularly prized for this variation in the facsimile barrel signature, a trend abandoned by the future Hall of Famer upon claiming his first World Championship in 1960. From 1961 onwards, Clemente decided it was time to put away childish things.

    Only about a half dozen representations of this early Clemente format are known in the collecting hobby, and here we present an example that distinguishes itself even within that endangered population. We begin our celebration of this elite specimen with an examination of the heavy game use, characterized by multiple ball marks, stitch impressions, grain checking, cleat marks, green Forbes Field rack streaks and a very light and professionally repaired handle crack. Number "21" appears in vintage marker on the knob, matching the numeral style of other known examples.

    Provenance is bolstered by a notarized letter of provenance from the gentleman who collected the bat from the Pirates dugout at Forbes Field the morning after a 1959 night game. The PSA/DNA letter of examination confirms this vintage by virtue of the bat's thirty-four and a half inch (34.5") length and thirty-three ounce (33 oz.) weight, pegging the signature model Hillerich & Bradsby U1 to an April 30, 1959 factory order.

    With elite early importance and rarity, spectacular game use and original collector provenance, this is a specimen well worthy of PSA/DNA's highest assessment, and of a position of honor in the finest of private game used bat collections. In fact, it derives from one, appearing on page eighty-three of the acclaimed volume, "Smithsonian Baseball: Inside the World's Finest Private Collections." LOA from PSA/DNA, GU 10. Notarized letter of provenance from original collector.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2016
    27th-28th Saturday-Sunday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 16
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,941

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

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