The earliest known Aaron bat!
1954 Hank Aaron Game Used Rookie Bat, PSA/DNA GU 9.5.
It may sound silly to suggest that an iconic first-ballot Hall of Famer has been underrated, but we wouldn't be the first to voice the sentiment. Mickey Mantle himself said as much upon his own retirement, telling a sportswriter, "As far as I'm concerned, Aaron is the best ballplayer of my era. He is to baseball of the last fifteen years what Joe DiMaggio was before him. He's never received the credit he's due."
Every sports fan worth his salt knows that Aaron spent a quarter century upon the home run throne (and was displaced through questionable means), but far fewer are aware that he remains the career leader in RBI's (2,297) and total bases (6,856), or that he ranks number three behind only Rose and Cobb in Major League hits. In short, Aaron authored one of the greatest careers in the history of American sports, one in which his reign as Home Run King was only a chapter of the epic tale.
That tale begins here, with a signature model Hillerich & Bradsby T73 dating to the first of Aaron's twenty-three Major League seasons. We are unaware of any other examples of this Aaron model ever surfacing at public auction, one of just three shipped to the young Brave during his debut campaign. It has been theorized that Aaron grew fond of the T73 during spring training of that year, borrowing those of his new friend and teammate Del Crandall, whose ordering records list a delivery of six for March 8th of that year. Aaron would only receive five personal model T73 bats from the Louisville factory during his career--the other two being 1955 All-Star Game models--thereby assuring rookie vintage here.
The bat was given to our consignor, then a thirteen-year-old boy thrilled by the recent arrival of Major League Baseball in Milwaukee, by the Braves bat boy as the young fan lingered by the ramp between the dugout and locker room hoping to collect autographs. His letter of provenance will accompany the bat.
This thirty-six inch (36"), thirty-three ounce (33 oz.) relic was clearly a workhorse for the twenty-year-old slugger, as the grain of the barrel swollen from punishment. Green rack streaks and a multitude of ball marks adorn the barrel, and light pine tar appears at the cracked and professionally-repaired handle. One of the very earliest scepters from the man who would be King. LOA from PSA/DNA, GU 9.5. Letter of provenance from consignor.
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