It was a childhood nickname that Roberto Clemente used on his game bats until he became a World Series champion. Now, the last bat carrying that humorous moniker is about to go on the auction block.
As a youngster in Puerto Rico, Clemente’s family members began calling him “Momen” for “momentito” (“just a moment” in Spanish), a word he used often when interrupted. The playful tease stuck with him.
The barrel signature of his earliest bats often carries the “Momen Clemente” branding. A bat with that inscription, one he carted home from the 1960 World Series, will be offered in Heritage Auctions’ catalog next month. It’s believed to be the last Clemente game bat carrying the “Momen” signature and is expected to sell for over $50,000. Beginning in 1961, Clemente bats made by Hillerich & Bradsby used his given first name.
Clemente apparently let his children use the bat as it carries the markings of sandlot baseball games and thus, does not carry a numeric grade from PSA/DNA, although the company has written a letter of authenticity for it as a game model 1960 World Series bat. MEARS has also provided an LOA.
While Bill Mazeroski’s game-winning homer has understandably gotten most of the attention, Clemente played a pivotal role in Game 7 of the 1960 World Series. His single in the bottom of the eighth inning brought the Pirates to within two runs of the Yankees and he later cored when the next batter, Hal Smith, belted a three-run shot into the left field seats to give Pittsburgh a 9-7 lead. Those final four runs were scored with two outs, so if Clemente had not reached base, it’s unlikely that the Pirates would have won the series.
The 35”, 31.4 ounce uncracked bat matches Clemente’s factory ordering records. It also includes a letter from Roberto Clemente, Jr., who according to Heritage officials, may well have been the one to utilize his father’s World Series bat for pickup games in the 1960s.