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    Historic lumber is referenced in 1945 newspaper!

    1934 Babe Ruth 702nd Home Run Game Used Bat Signed by Ruth, Gehrig & More. On July 23, 1934, there was only one story on the lips of every Chicago resident, and it wasn't Babe Ruth. Though the legendary slugger had returned from injury to club the 702nd home run of his career at Comiskey Park the day before, it was a different blast that Sunday that shook the Windy City to its core, coming from the muzzles of FBI agents trained on the disguised form of notorious gangster/fugitive John Dillinger. Banner headlines trumpeted the news atop every front page, two picturing the corpse like a prized trout, another simply the pool of blood in the alley outside the Biograph Theater where Dillinger's luck finally ran out.

    But for a good friend of Yankees manager Joe McCarthy named Albert V. Ott, visiting Chicago to enjoy the "Century of Progress" World's Fair, the date of Dillinger's killing took on a far less sinister personal relevance. The tale is recounted in the October 4, 1945 edition of the "Tyndall (SD) Tribune and Register," in an article entitled, "Ball and Bat Autographed by Babe Ruth and Other Famous Ball Players is Proud Possession of Jackie Flamming." A photocopy of that article is included in the lot, and reads, in part:

    "A bat and ball, autographed by Babe Ruth and the rest of the New York Yankees team, in the year 1934, are proud possessions of Jackie Flamming, son of Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Flamming, and form an appropriate attraction in the Tyndall Hardware store window this week as the World Series games got under way Wednesday.

    Incidentally the bat is one with which Babe Ruth, the home run king, swatted out one of his famous homeruns in the game, following which the bat was autographed. The ball and bat were both given to A.V. Ott between halves of a doubleheader played in 1934 between the Chicago White Sox and the New York Yankees."

    The home run referenced in that article carried Ruth to 702 for his career, just a dozen short of his final career tally. We can be certain of that attribution as the Yankees played just one doubleheader in Chicago that year, and Ruth did indeed take Hall of Fame right-hander Ted Lyons deep in the second inning of the first game.

    A tragic footnote in the transition of ownership from the Otts to their nephew is recounted later in the article: "The occasion was delayed because of the war, and it is indeed a sad fact that Mrs. Ott was killed in an auto accident a short time ago when she was driving from New York to Tyndall, bringing these very desirable gifts to the local boy."

    Copies of letters from Flamming as an adult to Joe Sewell asking for his remembrance of the event (no reply) and a notarized letter from Flamming's wife at the time of original sale likewise appear within the large file of provenance.

    Moving on to the paperwork authored by hobby experts, we find nothing but glowing assessments from both PSA/DNA and MEARS, each of which rate the lumber a perfect ten. They note that the rare white hickory signature model Hillerich & Bradsby dates to a March 11, 1933 factory order, but that it was quite common for Ruth to use bats a year or more after receipt. At thirty-five inches (35") in length and thirty-seven ounces (37 oz.) in weight, the bat perfectly matches those ordering records.

    The bat exhibits light to moderate use, unquestionably due to the fact that the home run lumber was gifted to manager McCarthy's buddy before it had been fully punished by the most prolific slugger in the game. The signatures on the barrel are very light but still legible, and include Ruth himself, Gehrig, Lazzeri, Gomez, Ruffing, Combs, Dickey and coach Joe Sewell. At some later date former Yankee teammate Herb Pennock and a few others were added.

    Certainly any bat from Ruth's deadly arsenal is an elite hobby treasure, and one bearing decades-old attribution to home run heroics is particularly glorious. Add a heaping helping of pre-war Yankee autographs, including that of the Sultan of Swat himself, and you're left with a relic nearly unequaled in the collecting world. LOA from PSA/DNA, GU 10. LOA from MEARS, A10. Full LOA from PSA/DNA (autographs). Provenance paperwork as noted.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2017
    10th Sunday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 6
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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