A rare Lou Gehrig bat dating from some of his most dominant seasons has been bid up to over $146,000 in Goldin Auctions’ October Legends auction.
The 1936-38 era Hillerich & Bradsby bat is one of about 20 Gehrig bats showing apparent game use that are in the hands of collectors.
According to Goldin Auctions, the ash weapon is 35 inches long and has “37 ½” stamped into the end, which ties it to Gehrig’s orders with Hillerich & Bradsby placed on one of three occasions between September of 1936 and May of 1938.
Sadly, Gehrig was only a few years from the ALS diagnosis that would take his life at the beginning of the next decade when this bat was ordered. He had yet to feel its effects, pounding 49 home runs and hitting .354 in an MVP season of 1936 and leading the Yankees to World Series titles in ’36 and ’37. With Babe Ruth having left the Yankees, the show definitely belonged to the affable Iron Horse and he didn’t disappoint.
During the summer, Cal Ripken got a chance to swing the Gehrig bat and talk about it for the TV show Piece of the Game. You can see the video here.
The bat shows heavy use and has a crack on the handle that was repaired with small nails commonly used to repair favorite bats.
The back of the barrel shows light checking from repeated ball contact and the left and right barrel reveals a number of ball marks. There are cleat impressions on the left, right and back of the barrel.
The auction closes November 1 at GoldinAuctions.com.