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1911-1916 Harry Hooper Pro-Model Bat - Only Known Side-Written Example
Starting Bid - $5,000.00, Sold For - $16,240.00
Incredibly rare Harry Hooper pro-model "dash-dot-dash" style game bat produced by the J. F. Hillerich & Son Co. and dating to the 1911-16 manufacturing period. In addition to being side-written, this bat has the unique and extremely significant provenance of originating directly from the Hillerich & Bradsby factory archives, and is accompanied by a signed letter of authenticity from John A. Hillerich IV, President and CEO of the Hillerich & Bradsby Co., attesting to the bat's provenance. Even without this ideal provenance, the original H&B side-written notations that appear along the underside of the barrel (reading "Old Harry Hooper" in grease pencil lettering) alone identify this bat as originating from the H&B archives. Side writing is of great significance to collectors as it places a bat directly into the hands of the player so named. When players returned bats to the factory (to be used as templates for future orders), identifying notations including the player's name would be written in grease pencil on the side of the bat by H&B and stored in the vaults for future reference. In that regard, the sidewriting on bats is recognized by the most sophisticated collectors as being the equivalent of having a letter of authenticity from the player himself. This bat is one of only six Harry Hooper professional model bats known to exist, and is the only known side-written example. The bat features the early "dash-dot-dash" center brand label. "Hooper" is deeply stamped on the barrel in block letters just to the right of the center brand. Comprised of top quality ash, the bat displays heavy use throughout its entire length including cleat marks and a five inch crack in the handle. Lathe marks are evident on both the knob and end of the barrel, as are the vault markings "H41." The name "Hooper" is also stamped on the knob just below the vault mark. The retention of its deep, dark original patina serves to accentuate its striking visual appeal. This impeccable Harry Hooper bat is by any measure the finest in existence. It is also the only Harry Hooper bat to receive the ultimate authenticity grade of A10 by MEARS. Hall of Fame outfielder Harry Hooper is probably best remembered today as a member of what was perhaps the greatest outfielding trio in baseball history. For eight years (1910-17) Hooper, Tris Speaker and Duffy Lewis ably patrolled the outfield grounds at Fenway Park, and their exceptional play was largely responsible for the club's three World Championships during that span. Hooper was also quite proficient at the plate. As the Red Sox leadoff hitter, he consistently "set the table" for the hard-hitting Speaker and Lewis and finished his career with 2,466 hits. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1971. Length: 34.75 inches. Weight: 36.5 ounces. Graded A10 by Mears. This bat is, without exception, the finest Harry Hooper pro-model bat extant and one that would be a highlight in any world-class Hall of Fame bat collection. LOA from Dave Bushing & Troy Kinunen/MEARS. Reserve $5,000. Estimate $10,000/$20,000. SOLD FOR $16,240.00
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