The bat Kirk Gibson used to hit one of the most memorable home runs in baseball history sold for $575,912 early Sunday morning. The Gibson home run bat, which came in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series and propelled the Dodgers to an upset Series victory, was part of a collection of items consigned to SCP Auctions by the current Arizona Diamondbacks manager.
The white Dodgers jersey Gibson was wearing that night went for $303,277.20. Gibson's collection of items brought in a total of $1.2 million. The names of the winning bidders aren't yet known.
"We are again impressed with the overall interest in sports memorabilia,” said David Kohler, President of SCP Auctions. “From the iconic Wagner card to Babe Ruth’s personal humidor and items from Gibson’s miracle moment, we continue to see a strong demand for sports collectibles.”
In addition to the historic bat and jersey, the auction also included Gibson’s 1988 World Series batting helmet ($153,388.80), NL Most Valuable Player Award ($110,293.20), World Series trophy ($45,578.40) and World Series road uniform ($9,664.80).
Proceeds from the sale of the World Series trophy and MVP award will benefit the Kirk Gibson Foundation to continue his support of Michigan State University athletic programs and to help fund his partial scholarship programs at Clarkston (Mich.) High School and Waterford (Mich.) High School, in honor of his parents, who were educators at those schools.
"I just felt like maybe it's time to let the people who do like to collect things and display them buy them and then take some of the proceeds and fund my foundation," Gibson said. "I want to make sure those scholarship funds go on forever."
Other highlight of the auction included the sales of a 1934 Babe Ruth professional-model bat used by Ruth to hit career home run #702 ($137,865.60), a Ty Cobb H&B side-written professional model game-used bat ($75,330.00), a newly-discovered 1953 Mickey Mantle New York Yankees game-worn, autographed road jersey ($62,256.00), a 1980 Bjorn Borg Wimbledon finals (vs. McEnroe) match-used racquet ($24,450.00), Ruth’s personal cigar humidor ($41,434.80) and a Pete Rose “corked” game-used bat ($10,632.00)
“This auction offered the greatest depth and highest caliber of material throughout every collecting category that SCP Auctions has ever featured in an Internet sale and we certainly appreciated the passion our clients demonstrated for the material in our sales,” added Kohler. “We’ll continue our goal of delivering high-quality auctions with a wide variety of material for all ranges of collectors.”
The Ruth bat was used to 702nd career round-tripper on July 22, 1934, among the finest Babe Ruth gamers known. Enhancing its extraordinary appeal is the fact that it has been signed by Ruth as well as 15 of his 1934 New York Yankees teammates. Ironically, Ruth's 702nd home run ball was auctioned the same day by Hunt Auctions. It brought over $264,000.
The Ty Cobb bat was used during the height of his reign as baseball’s most feared and dominant competitor. A superior specimen in all respects, it has been documented by the most renowned independent bat experts as one of the finest examples among the scarce population of Cobb game bats known. When he retired from the game of baseball in 1928 Ty Cobb held 90 major league records, most of these achieved with his bat. Most telling of his superiority is his .367 lifetime average. Accomplished over a 24-year career, it is a daunting mark that will likely never be approached.
The 1953 Mickey Mantle New York Yankees game-worn and autographed road jersey was in the sole possession of the consignor for nearly half a century and was even displayed on the wall of his Southern California eatery for many years. The jersey had never before been offered publicly and was consigned by a man who received it from a former major league scout during a tryout in the 1950s. When his big-league aspirations went unfulfilled, the consignor opted for the restaurant business.
The auction also included Bjorn Borg’s 1980 Wimbledon Finals racquet used in the epic match and qualifying matches. The fourth set tie break of the 1980 Wimbledon final between the defending champion Bjorn Borg of Sweden and John McEnroe of the USA is considered by many to be the all-time greatest moment in the sport. The Donnay “Borg Pro” professional model racquet shows extensive usage wear including scuffing on the perimeter of the racquet head and on the leather wrapped handle.
Ruth’s personal humidor came with the letter of provenance from Claire Ruth, in addition to a Babe Ruth -inscribed oversized photo of Ruth with a cigar. Given that many of Ruth’s personal effects are now part of the Baseball Hall of Fame and the private nature of the family, few pieces of memorabilia with direct lineage to his estate have ever been made available to private individuals.
An exception was made when Claire Ruth bestowed Babe’s personal cigar humidor upon longtime family friend Cy Jones, along with several other of the Babe’s significant personal memorabilia items. Among Babe Ruth’s many indulgences, was his well known fondness for cigars.
The 1985 Pete Rose autographed game-used bat was a professional model PR4192 that has been found to have been “corked” and is accompanied by “X-ray” evidence. Rose had been traded from the Expos back to the Reds the previous season and was on the last legs of his career.
Playing first base, and serving as the last player-manager in baseball, Rose remained unyielding in his pursuit of Ty Cobb's record of 4,191 hits. Before the season, Rose had a box of about 30 black Mizuno bats specially made for him.
His trademark quick swing not nearly as potent as it used to be, Rose ordered his bats a little lighter than usual to shorten his motion. The bats were 34 inches long, and weighed 32 ounces. In honor of his quest for 4,192 hits, they were dubbed the PR4192.
SCP Auctions is currently accepting consignments for their next Internet auction event. Call (800) 350-2273 for more information on how to participate or visit www.scpauctions.com.