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    1960 Roberto "Momen" Clemente World Series Game Used Bat. 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.

    This is a truly special offering however, one of the most important Clemente pieces ever to reach the public auction block. Utilizing a review of the Louisville Slugger factory ordering records, foremost bat expert John Taube is able to definitively attribute the presented signature model Hillerich & Bradsby S2 to an October 3, 1960 shipment, one of just four bats delivered to Clemente for use in the Bucs' improbably victorious 1960 World Series meeting with Mickey Mantle's New York Yankees.

    Taube directs us to the "distinctive straight line variation" of the "Powerized" imprint on the lower barrel which assures 1960 Championship vintage. A review of Clemente's Professional Bat Ordering Record (PBOR) indicates just a single shipment of S2 model bats with a length of thirty-four and a half inches, delivered just two days before Clemente singled in the third run of Game One at Forbes Field. Taube characterizes the bat's use as "heavy," noting a repaired handle crack, slight checking on the back barrel, numerous ball and cleat marks and light pine tar on the handle. Clemente's number "21" appears in faded vintage marker on the knob of this battle-scarred thirty-two and a half ounce weapon.

    While the bat marks the beginning of a Championship era for the superstar outfielder, it concurrently represents the end of another. 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. This October 1960 order proved to be the last "Momen" shipment. As a World Champion, Clemente apparently decided it was time to put away childish things.

    Though there would be more glory to come for both Clemente and the City of Pittsburgh, the 1960 World Series remains a lasting point of pride for Steeltown over half a century after Mazeroski's walk-off blast. Though the Yankees more than doubled the Pirates' run production over the seven games, the resilient Pittsburgh squad showed the same manner of fighting Pennsylvania spirit that would later make Rocky Balboa our nation's most beloved fictional athlete. If seeking a tangible symbol of true baseball grit, one would face a real challenge in topping this offering. Graded PSA GU9. LOA from PSA/DNA.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2011
    4th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 18
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 5,290

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

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