A Babe Ruth game-used bat dating to the Boston Red Sox’ 1918 World Series winning season – arguably the most important piece of lumber from baseball’s most iconic player – realized $537,750 at Heritage Auctions Oct. 1-2 Signature® Sports Memorabilia Auction.
The auction totaled just more than $4.2 million. All prices include 19.5% Buyer’s Premium.
"We saw very solid results across the board," said Chris Ivy, Director of Sports at Heritage Auctions. "The Ruth bat was the icing on the cake in an auction that featured examples from many of the greatest names in sports. Time and time again in this auction we saw totals far exceed the pre-auction estimates multiple times. It shows that demand for the highest quality material, as Heritage Auctions specializes in, will never diminish."
While the bat that Ruth used to crush the first homer on opening day of Yankee Stadium in 1923, a relic which commanded $1.2 million at a December 2004 auction, is the most famous Ruth Bat, the remarkable Hillerich & Bradsby sold at Heritage Auctions not only predates that bat by five years, it is also the "parent" model of all Ruth bats to come. The Babe used the bat extensively throughout the historic 1918 season, making sure it lived up to his demanding specs – and as evidenced by the tightly centralized impact area – before sending it back to the Hillerich & Bradsby factory in Louisville, KY.
The price is the second highest ever realized for a Babe Ruth bat, and the most ever for an unsigned one.
"Besides being one of the most important pieces of baseball memorabilia on the planet," said Heritage Auctions’ Ivy, "it’s one of the most beautiful pieces you’ll ever see, too, with the white ash wood having acquired a deep patina that would make any fine furniture expert envious."