18:31 | 13/05/2022 Print
|Top 10 Most Expensive Baseball Bats OF All Time. Photo: knowinsiders.|
Many of the most revered sportsmen in history were baseball players in the sport’s heyday, including the heaviest hitters of them all – Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Joe Jackson.
Some sports fans love collecting sports memorabilia from their favorite sport. While most will limit their collection to saving their match tickets or buying their team’s hats and kits, others are willing to spend huge amounts of money to buy rare or historically significant items. Some baseball fans have spent staggering sums of cash on baseball bats, and here are the ten most expensive baseball bats ever sold that we summed up.
1. Babe Ruth First Baseball Bat - $1.265 million
2. Ty Cobb Bat - $1.1 million
3. Jackie Robinson Bat - $1.08 million
4. Lou Gehrig Bat - $1.025 million
5. Joe Jackson Bat - $956,000
6. Kirk Gibson 1988 Bat - $575,912
7. Honus Wagner Bat - $442,800
8. Adrian “Cap” Anson Bat - $349,837.50
9. Joe DiMaggio Bat - $345,596
10. Roberto Clemente Bat - $198,000
|Babe Ruth began his professional career as a pitcher, transforming into a batting phenomenon whose name is still revered a century later. Photo: Heritage Auctions|
When Babe Ruth was alive, this bat was the first of many he would use to create his legendary career. When he hit his first home run as a Yankees player in 1923, this is the bat he used. Sotheby’s auctioned off this glorious piece of Babe Ruth memorabilia thinking that it would be the most expensive piece of baseball memorabilia ever sold. There is no word as to who purchased it back in 2004 when it became the most expensive baseball bat ever auctioned, as worthly.com reported.
The most expensive baseball bat is the First Baseball Bat. This bat is a monster Louisville Slugger, clocking in at 46 ounces, used to hit the first home run ever at Yankee Stadium in 1923. The barrel has an inscription that refers to the “Boy Home Run King,” in reference to the Babe. The bat sold for $1.265 million at an auction in 2004, making it the most expensive ever sold, rarest.org reported.
The bat is 36 inches of ash and defined the stadium that would become known as “The House that Ruth Built.” Victor Orsatti received the bat as a gift back in 1923 and kept it until he died over 60 years later.
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It would make this list a bit redundant to list all the high-selling Babe Ruth bats out there, which is why we limited it to one per player. Other high-priced Ruth bats include a 1929 bat ($1,000,800), 1921 bat (930,000), another 1921 bat ($717,000), and a 1927 bat ($660,000).
A baseball bat that was used by Ty Cobb was sold for a whopping $1.1 million in a private sale. This is likely one of the most expensive memorabilia bats ever purchased, according to TMZ. One that comes close was the 2019 sale that featured the bat Babe Ruth used to hit his 500th career home run. It sold for $1 million at an auction.
Cobb was one of baseball's earliest stars ... and an absolute BEAST at the plate. He won the Triple Crown in 1909, the A.L. MVP in 1911, and was a 12x batting champion. He averaged .366 and had 4,191 hits over his 24 season career.
According to TMZ Sports, the lumber was authenticated and graded by PSA ... who gave the bat a perfect GU 10 score -- a super important figure for collectors.
In order to authenticate the bat, PSA says they examined cleat markings and tape on the bat (among other stuff) -- and all were consistent with other known Cobb bats. They also traced records back to the manufacturer.
"In this case, when you consider the classic Ty Cobb characteristics this bat exhibits, along with its impeccable provenance, it's no wonder this gamer became the first of its kind to crack the $1 million dollar barrier," Collectors Universe CEO Joe Orlando told TMZ Sports. "From his signature taped handle, which is totally intact, to the tobacco juice-soaked barrel, the eye appeal of this baseball relic is elite."
|Jackie Robinson (left) is pictured ahead of the All-Star Game in 1949. Photo: CNN.|
The bat used by Jackie Robinson during the 1949 MLB All-Star Game in Brooklyn sold for $1.08 million (including buyer's premium), collectibles marketplace Goldin announced.
While it's not the most expensive baseball bat ever sold at auction -- that record belongs to the bat Babe Ruth hit his first Yankee Stadium home run with in 1923, at $1.265 million -- it's exceedingly rare to cross the $1 million threshold.
According to espn.com, the bat was purchased by Hunt Auctions, which most recently made waves conducting auctions of Bill Russell's memorabilia, on behalf of a private buyer.
The bat includes a letter of authenticity from Robinson's wife, Rachel, who wrote: "The bat has been in the Robinson family archives since the day it was first used by Jackie."
"The direct provenance from Rachel Robinson and the added historical significance of the 1949 All-Star Game being played in Brooklyn place this example at the pinnacle of Jackie game bats," David Hunt, president of Hunt Auctions, said in a statement.
Robinson, who broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier in 1947, played the Midsummer Classic at his home park, Ebbetts Field in Brooklyn, the same year that he claimed the National League Most Valuable Player Award.
As NBC News reported, the bat was one of two made for Robinson for the game, Goldin said, and shows “light game use.”
|The Yankees’ Lou Gehrig taking practice swings before the start of the World Series against the Chicago Cubs in New York on Sept. 16, 1932.Credit. Photo: AP.|
A nearly 100-year-old bat that New York Yankees legend Lou Gehrig once used and wanted copied as part of his first endorsement contract has been sold for $1.025 million.
The 40-ounce piece of lumber has been dubbed "Bat Zero" because its markings indicate the Baseball Hall of Famer owned it before he struck a deal with Hillerich and Bradsby (the makers of Louisville Slugger bats) to supply him when he joined the Yankees in 1924. Gehrig wanted the company to use the bat as a model.
"He sent this one back and said, 'Like the specs, I like the length, I like this weight and I like how this bat was created in the factory,' " Ivy, director of sports auctions at Heritage Auctions in Dallas, said.
According to USA Today, the bat has a date of April 22, 1925, written on it, which was when the company started producing Louisville Sluggers for Gehrig.
“Back then, these guys kept their bats for years,” the auction company's Robert Wilonsky told The Athletic. “They were 40-ounce bats, and they were made much differently. So they were heavier bats and they lasted longer."
Heritage Auctions takes great pains to verify the authenticity of the bats and other items it puts up for sale. Through player records, contracts and other evidence, it was able to trace this particular bat to at least 1922.
A New York City auction in 2014 saw a couple of incredible baseball artifacts sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars. The stars of the evening were Joe Jackson’s 1911 bat, the second oldest bat on this list. In 1911, Jackson was only a rookie. He’d probably be amused to learn that his huge 35-inch bat from that season made more money than he ever did at a salary of around $6,000 a season, selling in 2014 for $956,000, as rarest.org reported.
Jackson was a poor, illiterate child growing up in the South and these humble origins earned him the name “Shoeless Joe Jackson,” something you may remember from the movie, Field of Dreams, starring Kevin Costner. Unfortunately, Jackson lost his whole career when he threw the 1919 World Series and was banned from baseball forever. It didn’t stop him from becoming known as the greatest hitter who ever lived (or “natural hitter,” as they say).
According to moneyinc.com, if Jackson were alive at the time of the auction, he would probably have been surprised at how much his bat brought at the sale. He was from humble beginnings and was only earning a salary of $6,000 a season at the height of his career. Just eight years after using the bat, Jackson was banned from baseball after throwing the World Series. The bat was not the only expensive item of sports memorabilia sold at the auction. Muhammad Ali’s boxing gloves that he wore in his 1964 match against Sonny Liston sold for $836,500. Another item that went for a high price was Babe Ruth’s commemorative pocket watch from the 1923 World Series, which fetched $717,000.
A Kirk Gibson bat is the best baseball bat on the list, as it was used in game one of the 1988 World Series. Several pieces of memorabilia from that fateful match were included in a 2010 SCP Auction, including Gibson’s bat, which was the most successful item sold on the night, bringing in $575,912. Several more of Gibson’s items were, and while these also went for high price tags, none sold for anywhere near the price of the bat. Gibson’s series jersey sold for $303, 277.20, and his batting helmet achieved $153,388.80. Another item from the sale was the World Series trophy, which took $45,578.40.
According to dodgerblue.com, Kirk Gibson was born on May 28, 1957, in Pontiac, Mich. Prior to making a name for himself in baseball, he starred for the Michigan State football team, earning All-American honors as a wide receiver.
Gibson set many school records and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in January 2017. While he appeared destined for a career in the NFL, his focus switched to baseball from the advice of Michigan State head coach Darryl Rogers.
Gibson was selected by the NFL’s St. Louis Cardinals in the seventh round of the 1979 NFL Draft, but did not sign with the organization. He instead committed to playing professional baseball after the Detroit Tigers selected him with the 12th overall pick in the 1978 MLB Draft.
Gibson’s professional career began in 1978 with Single-A Lakeland. In 54 games for the affiliate, he hit .240/.328/.451 with eight home runs, 40 RBI and 13 stolen bases across 204 plate appearances. Gibson was promoted to Triple-A Evansville the following season, where he batted .245/.326/.398 with nine home runs, 42 RBI and 20 stolen bases in 89 games. As the calendar turned to September and rosters expanded, the Tigers called up Gibson to the Major League roster.
Offered at auction for the first time, a Honus Wagner game model bat dating to the end of his Hall of Fame career sold for $442,800 in an auction conducted during the National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago, as sportscollectorsdaily.com reported.
Goldin Auctions held the annual live event, offering several high-end pieces of memorabilia.
The bat was one of only two Wagner non-40K Louisville Slugger bats that have ever been graded. It is also the only Wagner 125 model that features his signature on the barrel and is the only known 125 signature model to be graded by PSA/DNA. The Louisville Slugger Museum confirmed the PSA/DNA opinion that the bat was ordered by Wagner during his final two seasons (1916-17) in the majors.
A number of modern fans probably know Honus Wagner best as the subject of the most-valuable baseball card in history, the rare 1909–11 T206 Wagner card that was produced by the American Tobacco Company. As britannica reported, the scarcity of the card is a big reason why it can fetch upwards of $2 million in a sale, but it wouldn’t be nearly as valuable if the person depicted on it was just a run-of-the-mill player and not one of the best to have ever stepped on a diamond. “The Flying Dutchman” (god, they came up with such good nicknames back in the day) led the National League in batting average eight times over the course of his career and retired with a stellar .328 average despite having played during the offense-killing “dead-ball era.” At the time of his retirement in 1917, he had tallied the second most hits (3,420), doubles (643), triples (252), and runs batted in (1,732) in major-league history, and all of these totals still rank among the top 25 of all time.
The oldest bat on this list is the last game-used bat in the final Major League season of Adrian Anson, the captain of the Chicago Colts. Anson or “Cap” used this bat in 1897. He reached 3,000 career hits before any other player in history as he led the Colts to five championships in the span of his career.
Even today, the Chicago franchise has never beaten his records for runs and hits. It should be no surprised then that Cap was admitted into the Hall of Fame on its first round in 1939. This bat sold for $349,837.50.
Anson was one of baseball’s first superstars of the 19th century, and remains one of the greatest hitters the game has ever seen.
Between 1871 and 1897 he played a record 27 consecutive seasons, and is believed to be the first player in history to achieve more than 3,000 career hits.
As the only game-used Cap Anson bat in existence, it’s a genuine piece of sporting history which should fetch a strong six-figure sum when it goes under the hammer on August 2.
As Anson played his entire career during the 19th century, the lack of memorabilia in existence is understandable. His autograph remains one of the most elusive in all of baseball, and just a single signed baseball is believed to exist.
This Joe DiMaggio bat from his 1941 season represents perhaps the greatest streak in the sport’s history, as part of his unbelievable fifty-six games of consecutive hits, with that .262 batting average. To accomplish this feat, DiMaggio used three bats. This is one of them.
It was bought for $345,596 and rests in the Hillerich & Bradsby Museum. It’s located in Louisville, Kentucky and every year gives thousands of young fans the chance to see a piece of history with this bat.
"We are extremely excited about acquiring this piece through auction," said Hillerich & Bradsby President & CEO John A. Hillerich IV. "Most people agree that DiMaggio's 56 game hitting streak is not only the greatest feat in baseball history but
also the greatest individual accomplishment in all of sports."
According to imdb.com, Joe DiMaggio was simply the greatest all-around baseball player of his era. As a New York baseball legend, "The Yankee Clipper" succeeded superstars Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig and preceded Mickey Mantle. In his 13 year career from 1936 to 1951 (which was interrupted by three years spent in the Army during World War Two from 1943-45), DiMaggio won three Most Valuable Player awards and was named to the All-Star team thirteen times.
His 1936 Yankees team won the World Series his freshman year, as it did in 1937, '38 and '39. The four straight wins was a record that would be surpassed by the Yankees team of 1949-53, of which "Joltin' Joe was a member for their first three World Championships, retiring after the 1951 season due to incredible pain that he had stoically endured. Ultimately, he played in 10 World Series, of which the Yankees won an incredible nine. (Only Yogi Berra, his teammate from 1946-51, appeared on more world champions, winning 10 rings in 14 World Series.)
According to Forbes, Heritage auctioned off Clemente’s magic wand for $198,000, almost five times the pre-sale estimate and more than double the record for one his bats. (The cap: $1,740). “Collectors covet any Clemente bat they can find,” says Jason Simmons, a consignment director for the sports department who handled the bat. “The story and the documentation that come with this bat are extraordinary. It involves a kid, a good luck charm, and the bat of the World Series MVP who is a folk hero, and it is all documented in the Pirates' letter and the newspaper article.”
Marable, 66, thinks he may have kept it hidden in a closet or somewhere else in the house while pursuing his other passions. Her dad collected Hopie and Navajo baskets and jewelry, was a silversmith, raised Siamese seal point show cats, and owned two turquoise mines.
Like Clemente himself, Turner’s bat is special, indeed. The handle end has a distinctive flair rather than knob with Clemente’s number 21 written on it. The weight, 36.6, is exceptionally large. “Compared to contemporary stars like Hank Aaron and Willie Mays, Clemente gamers look like caveman clubs,” writes Joe Orlando, co-author of Legendary Lumber: The Top 100 Player Bats in Baseball History and president of PSA/DNA which authenticated the bat and gave it its highest game-used grade, a ten.
Clemente collectibles are especially valuable because of his greatness and the Jackie Robinsonesque aura he maintains. The Hall of Famer won 12 consecutive Gold Gloves, eclipsed the 200-hit mark five times on the way to 3,000 career hits, and finished his fantastic career with a .317 batting average. Meanwhile, he mentored teammates and served as a role model to children.
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