The bat used by Babe Ruth to hit the first home run in old Yankee Stadium in 1923 – and sold by Southern California-based SCP Auctions – for a record $1.265 million in 2004 will be featured on TLC’s hit show, “Accidental Fortune,” Sunday, April 18 at 8 p.m. ET.
Aside from its connection to Ruth, the most important and valuable bat ever discovered has a storied history.
Ruth had given the bat to the Los Angeles Evening Herald, and Victor Orsatti won it in a high school home run-hitting contest sponsored by the newspaper. Ruth inscribed on the bat, “To the Boy Home Run King of Los Angeles ‘Babe’ Ruth, N.Y. May 7, 1923.”
Before his death in the early 1980s, Orsatti gave the bat to his caretaker, who chose SCP Auctions as a partner in the marketing and sale of the bat and to prove that it was indeed the one used to hit the first home run in old Yankee Stadium. Accompanying the bat is a congratulatory telegram Orsatti received from Ruth.
After the bat spent 80 years in hiding, SCP Auctions was given the opportunity to showcase and feature the bat in a New York auction in 2004, when it sold for $1.265 million.
“It is unanimous - the authenticity, provenance, and condition are beyond reproach,” said David Kohler, president of SCP Auctions. “Virtually everyone who sees it is simply blown away, not only by the mere existence of the bat, but also by its incredible beauty. It has a definite aura about it.”
Accidental Fortune debuted late last year on TLC. Its first show included the story of the 1869 Peck & Snyder Cincinnati Red Stockings trade card that was discovered in a Fresno, California collectibles shop owned by an older couple who had put it on eBay with a $9.99 starting bid before learning of its value.