A bat once used by Ty Cobb during the earliest moments of his major league career sold for $1,074,544 Sunday night.
The 34 1/2-inch model C28 Hillerich & Bradsby model carries Cobb’s name burned into the barrel and displayed numerous cleat marks. It was authenticated and graded PSA/DNA as a GU 10, the highest rating awarded by the company.
Twenty-four bids were entered for the bat, which opened at $100,000. According to Grey Flannel Auctions, it had been held in a private collection for decades before the owner passed away and had been unknown to the hobby at large.
It’s one of a small number of bats to cross the $1 million threshold. The most ever paid was $1.26 million for a Babe Ruth bat believed to have been the one he used to hit the first homer at Yankee Stadium in April of 1923. That happened at a 2004 SCP Auctions/Sotheby’s sale.
A Ruth bat dating to the 1922-1925 time period and originating in a large purchase of bats from a former Louisville Slugger employee in the 1980s, sold for $116,924 in the Grey Flannel sale while another Cobb bat, this one dating to 1924 and graded 9, sold for $207,142.
The bat wasn’t the highest selling Ruth item in the auction, however. A virtually pristine Ruth signed baseball with a steel-tip pen signature on the sweet spot graded 9 by PSA, rocketed to $357,594.
Several other items in the auction generated six-figure prices including an autographed game jersey from Wayne Gretzky’s first NHL season that netted $325,085, an early 1960s jersey attributed to use by Roger Maris ($244,240), a 1971 Ernie Banks Cubs road jersey ($173,102) and a circa-1937 Joe DiMaggio cap ($143,059).