A bat believed to be ordered by Babe Ruth in July of 1920 and used in the early stages of his New York Yankees career has sold for $415,000.
MEARS Online Auctions announced the sale of the bat this week after offering it online.
The company's authentication and research arm matched the bat to Louisville Slugger factory records, 36” and a whopping 44.6 ounces. Most interesting, however, was the "scoring" applied to the barrel. Directly above the facsimile barrel stamping that features the Babe's name, is an approximate 3x10" area containing hundreds of "scores", or grooves, that were deliberately applied in a concentrated area using a cow bone or bottle top. It was common practice for the young slugger and has been seen on other game-used Ruth bats. The net result, Ruth hoped, would be to give lift to balls he struck with the bat, similar to the effect of grooves on the face of a golf club.
Ball and cleat marks are visible on the bat, indicated its use on the diamond.
The bat was dated to the 1920-21 usage period through a combination of factors including the particular barrel stamping used for Ruth bats during the time period, the recorded weight in factory records from 1920-22, and finish (1920). The company detailed its findings in the online listing and concluded it was an important part of his early success in the Bronx.
We have had the pleasure of authenticating several bats that date to this period of Ruth’s career but none have been more favored by Ruth than this one. We believe this bat pays homage to the game’s greatest player during the two most significant years in Ruth’s career and baseball’s history.
Ruth's bats came from Hillerich and Bradsby, which supplied him with professional model bats throughout his major league career which ended in 1935. In November, a 1924 era Ruth bat sold at the Louisville Slugger Auction for $253,000.
MEARS is currently offering another Ruth bat from what it believes are his earliest big league days with the Boston Red Sox.