One of the most historic bats in baseball history resides inside a humble case in Milwaukee.
When Hank Aaron hit what turned out to be the final home run of his career in 1976, the season was barely half over. Each blast, however, extended the all-time career record to what was thought to be an unapproachable 755. Even then, any Aaron bomb was regarded as a little piece of history. Little did anyone know how treasured those artifacts would be in the new century.
Kurt Van Engel was a collector, but he didn’t acquire the Louisville Slugger Aaron used that day until much later. A story in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel puts the bat in his hands in the early 1990s, when he says long-time Milwaukee area public relations man Ben Barkin sold him the lumber along with a few other Aaron bats.
It resides in Van Engel’s extensive collection of sports memorabilia.