1926 Ruth Bat Up for Auction…in Ireland

A bat Babe Ruth traded to the leader of an Irish all-star hurling team that came to the United States in 1926 is going on the auction block after being consigned by the family of the original recipient.

In May of that year, Frank McGrath brought an intercounty team of hurlers they called the Gaelic Athletic Association to New York at the urging of Jimmy “Beau James” Walker, the mayor of New York.  Walker’s father had emigrated from Ireland and the get together was designed to firm the bonds of friendship between the two nations while trading a little sports know-how.

Frank McGrath Babe Ruth Spalding batThe bat has been in McGrath’s family ever since but his grandson has decided to part with it rather than some of the other awards and memorabilia that were passed down.  He told an Irish newspaper that the Ruth bat was once on display at an Irish pub or two, but has essentially just been sitting around in recent years.

An American collector will likely find a more hallowed place for an item that will likely sell for far more than the $4,000-6,000 Euros estimate that Mealy’s Auctions has placed on it.  The Ruth bat is part of a larger sale of memorabilia that closes September 28.

The handle is taped.  According to the auction company, it’s a Spalding B12 model, measuring 35 inches in length, which would be similar in dimension, at least, to what Ruth swung for the Yankees at the time.  However, it would seem unlikely that it was used in a game.  Early in his career, Ruth was known to have used a Spalding bat.   However, he had an exclusive contract with Hillerich & Bradsby during the time the bat was given to McGrath.  Ruth did have an endorsement deal with Spalding during the 1920s, however and his name appears on sporting goods manufactured by the company during the era.