The first Louisville Slugger bat directly linked to a member of the New York Yankees goes on the auction block today
It’s more than a century old and full of nails. It’s also oozing baseball history.
A Clark Griffith model Louisville Slugger bat dating to the first decade of the 20th century goes up for bid today when MEARS Online Auctions opens its February event.
The bat was consigned to the auction after residing in a private collection.
The bat is a side-written, vault-marked model that spent years in storage at Louisville Slugger. It’s one of the first-ever big league bats that contains a player’s name and likely dates from the 1903-1905 era. Player names weren’t used on bats made by J.F. Hillerich & Son prior to 1903.
Griffith, who spent 1903-1907 with the New York Highlanders (later the Yankees), is in the Hall of Fame and the bat is the earliest known Louisville Slugger bat attributed to a member of the Hall. According to MEARS, it’s also the earliest known game bat attributed to a Yankee.
The 34 1/2", 36.75 ouce bat shows heavy game use and has been repaired with nails, indicating a long life. It’s possible that Griffith, a pitcher, may have used only one bat for most or all of his career. He was a player-manager with the Cincinnati Reds by 1911, when it’s likely he sent the bat to Louisville so that more could be ordered to his specifications. He continued as player-manager of the Washington Senators from 1912-1914.
The bat’s factory writing includes the date 7-8-11.
Nicknamed the "old fox", Griffith was the first player to use the spitball, and has the distinction of being the first ever New York Yankees team captain. He also holds the distinction as the team’s first manager and the earliest Yankee player inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame.
Graded MEARS A9.5, the bat carries a minimum bid of $25,000.
The auction will feature over 1,000 items and while the company is best known for its game-used equipment and game-worn uniform businesses, the current auction will include over 200 top level PSA-graded sports cards.
Other highlights include:
Game Used Bats
- 1908-10 Wee Willie Keeler Spalding Professional Model Game Used Bat – New York Yankees / Giants – Shortest bat in major league history (MEARS A6)
- 1912-1919 Heinie Groh Spalding Professional Model Game Used Bottle Bat – Reds – (MEARS A7) exact Spalding model as featured on exhibit card
- 1922-25 Babe Ruth H&B Louisville Slugger Professional Model Game Used Bat (MEARS A7) era of his MVP season of 1923
- 1965 Mickey Mantle H&B Louisville Slugger Professional Model Game Used Bat – Yankees – Used July 27-29, 1965 w/ provenance and pinpoint factory records (MEARS 8.5)
Jerseys and Equipment
- 1982 George Brett Kansas City Royals Game Worn Jersey (MEARS A10)
- 1937 Carl Hubbell New York Giants Game Worn Jacket attributed to the World Series – w/ teammate family provenance (MEARS LOA)
- 1975 Don Sutton Los Angeles Dodgers Game Worn Jersey (MEARS A9)
- 1975 Rick Monday Chicago Cubs Game Worn Road Jersey (MEARS A9.5)
- 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates Autographed Team Signed Ball (27) Near Mint w/ Clemente (PSA/DNA)
- 200+ JSA & PSA slabbed autographs