SINGLE-OWNER AUCTION INCLUDES HIGH-GRADE, TEAM-SIGNED BATS, BASEBALLS, DOCUMENTS FROM LEGENDARY TEAM
It’s often said that it’s always darkest before the dawn.
Certainly that was true for Major League Baseball as the sun rose over the “Live Ball Era” from the moonless night of the Black Sox scandal. Though whispers of conspiracy regarding the Cincinnati Reds’ unlikely 1919 Fall Classic victory over the heavily favored Chicago club had yet to reach full volume as Babe Ruth first donned his Yankees pinstripes, there is no question that the 1920 game was already in desperate need of the tonic that only Ruth’s thunderous bat could provide.
That year, Ruth would obliterate the season home run record, nearly doubling the previous record with 54 homers. The earliest-known, Ruth-signed game-used bat – inscribed “To My Friend Eddie Maier From ‘Babe’ Ruth, 1920” – is being offered at Heritage Auctions’ Yankee Legends Collection auction Dec. 10.
“The rare slabs of lumber that can be definitively linked to Ruth’s historic 1920 campaign are absolutely drenched in historical and collectible appeal,” says Chris Ivy, director of sports auctions at Heritage. The bat is expected to realize at least $600,000.
The bat is part of a single-owner collection that consists of about 400 lots, including dozens of high-grade team-signed baseballs and single-signed baseballs from both Yankee greats and non-Yankee Hall of Famers.
Also included are important documents and game-worn gloves from Yankee greats. Among the standout items are a 1927 New York Yankees team-signed baseball (estimated at $100,000), and a 1938-39 Lou Gehrig game-used bat used to belt his final home run ($800,000).
“This is among the most comprehensive Yankees collections we’ve ever seen,” Ivy says. “The collection does a great job of telling the history of baseball’s most successful franchise through memorabilia.”