It was the home run that started the Yankees’ first post-Mantle era dynasty. Now, Chris Chambliss’ historic 1976 American League Championship Series walk off home run baseball and game used bat are heading to auction.
The ball and bat will be offered as part of the 2013 Major League Baseball All-Star FanFest live auction conducted by Hunt Auctions. The sale will be held in July 2013 during the MLB All-Star week at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City.
The 1976 American League season culminated fittingly with the New York Yankees pitted against the Kansas City Royals. The Yankees had fallen into mediocrity and their rise to the ’76 post-season had fans in a frenzy.
After four hard fought games to begin the series it would all come down to a decisive game five to be played at Yankee Stadium before a crowd of over 56,000. Once again the Royals battled the Yankees fiercely. A George Brett homer in the bottom of the eighth tied the game at six. The game remained deadlocked until the bottom of the ninth inning with Yankees coming to bat. The temperature was notably cold but the Yankees fans were at a fever pitch causing the game to be delayed before the beginning of the 9th inning while the ground crew cleaned up debris thrown onto the field by the unruly and anxious fans.
All the while the Yankees leadoff hitter for the 9th inning, Chambliss, waited his turn at bat. Once the game was ready to resume, Chambliss stepped to the plate against Royals pitcher Mark Littell and crushed the first pitch over the fence for a game-ending homer, sending the Yankees to the World Series for the first time since 1964. Fans stormed the field making it impossible for Chambliss to complete his run around the bases. The indelible images remain among the most recognized in the history of the game.
Chambliss decides to sell
The ball, which was returned to Chambliss at the time, is inscribed with the date of the game and the teams. The Louisville Slugger bat contains the Bicentennial logo used that season. Both have been in Chambliss’ possession ever since, but he’s now decided to sell them.
“ I have enjoyed these pieces and the memories they evoke for many years,” Chambliss said. “With the All-Star Game being played in New York I felt the time was right to bring these two items back into the spotlight for all the great baseball fans to enjoy. These pieces represent the finest moment of my career. The way I received the ball and bat are great stories under the circumstances. It was a moment I will never forget and the fans of New York help me to remember the moment also.”
A limited number of elite consignments are being accepted for what will be a two-day auction instead of the usual one-day event. To register and receive a free catalog, contact Hunt Auctions.