Packed away for decades and owned by the descendants of a former Yankees teammate, one of the last bats used by Lou Gehrig will be coming to market for the first time in March.
Originating in the personal collection of fellow Hall of Famer Earle Combs and now authenticated and graded, the historic artifact has been consigned to SCP Auctions by the Combs family. It’s expected to sell for $500,000-$1 million–maybe more. A bat from early in Gehrig’s career sold privately last year for just over $1 million.
Ordered on September 7, 1938, the 34-inch, 36-ounce Louisville Slugger stands as one of the last ones made for Gehrig, who would be forced to retire from baseball the following spring following his ALS diagnosis. SCP officials believe it could be tied to use in the 1938 World Series and possibly during Spring Training in 1939.
“SCP Auctions is honored to be able to handle one of the rarest and most valuable Lou Gehrig bats ever discovered,” said David Kohler, President of SCP Auctions.
An outfielder who, like Gehrig, spent his entire career with the Yankees, Kentucky native Combs was a teammate of Gehrig’s until his retirement in 1936. He then became a coach, assisting a young Joe DiMaggio on the nuances of Yankee Stadium’s outfield.
The Combs family decided to reach out to SCP Auctions last month to inquire about the significance of the bat, which they believed had been given to Combs by Gehrig late in the latter’s career. The family has letters sent by Gehrig to Combs in 1934 after Combs suffered season-ending and life-threatening injuries after crashing into the outfield fence at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis.
After examining the bat just before Christmas, bat expert John Taube of PSA/DNA gave it the firm’s highest grade of GU10, noting that it has “evidence of outstanding use” with numerous ball marks on the barrel and “green bat rack mark streaks.”
The bat will be one of the focal points of a large annual Winter/Spring premier auction of sports cards and memorabilia conducted by SCP Auctions in March. More details will be released later this winter.