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Circa 1931 Lou Gehrig Batrite (Hanna Mfg. Co.) Pro Model Bat
Starting Bid - $2,500.00, Sold For - $9,400.00
This extremely rare Batrite (Hanna Manufacturing, Athens, GA) professional model TA 11 5 bat with "Gehrig" in block letters on the barrel dates from his brief two-year split from H&B in the early 1930s. The bat exhibits considerable game use including cleat marks and vintage tape wrapped around the lower portion of the handle. The manufacturer's stampings are deep and distinct. The patent date, "July 15 1930," appears on the knob. This stamping also appears on the only known side-written example of a Lou Gehrig Batrite bat which in 2004 sold at auction for over $50,000. Aside from the greasepaint side writing and the fact that this bat is 35 inches long, which is a specification also known to be requested by Lou Gehrig (as opposed to the 36-inch length of the side-written Hanna example), this bat is identical to the Hanna Gehrig gamer that sold for $50,000. According to MEARS, "It is the hand turned knobs that are most closely associated to gamers and are considered pro-models. Bats with the Batrite patent pending logo are also considered pro-models, but it is possible that they were also offered for retail sale as well. Use of Hanna Batrite bats by Gehrig is well documented. An undated photo of Gehrig in the Yankee dugout during a home game (presumably regular season) shows Gehrig with a Batrite in hand and many more scattered in front of the Yankee dugout. He also testified in court during the Louisville Slugger versus Hanna Batrite trial regarding his use of Batrites during two seasons of his major league career." Excerpt from the 1933 Transcript from Hillerich & Bradsby vs. Hanna Manufacturing Company trial [testimony of Lou Gehrig]: "I spoke of having used Louisville Slugger bats practically all the time throughout my professional career with the exception of approximately two years. During those two years approximately I used a Batrite and Spalding. The Batrite bats were purchased from Hanna Manufacturing Company, Athens, Georgia. Two or three Batrite and Spalding bats were sent to me on trial, and I finally placed my orders with the Hanna Manufacturing Company. I used the Batrite bats I obtained from Hanna Manufacturing Company a good majority of both years I used those bats. Naturally, I found them satisfactory. I used them because they had peculiarities of treatment or finish which seemed advantageous to my mind. I haven't any idea what the treatment was. It stopped checking, which is the loosening of the grain of bats which makes it impossible to use them further. When the Hanna Manufacturing Company made those bats for me and put my name on them it was my understanding that they were going to use my name only on bats for my own personal use, and I did not give them permission to use my name on bats for sale to the general public." Because, as noted above, the Hanna Gehrig model bats were theoretically available for sale to the public, bat collectors have traditionally valued them far less than traditional H&B Gehrig models. The recent sale of the side-written Batrite at over $50,000 suggests that a hand-turned Batrite Gehrig such as this, which is very rarely offered and dates from the correct time period of Gehrig's use, may be worthy of a higher valuation than previously considered, in addition to representing an outstanding relatively affordable alternative to an H&B model which would sell for many tens of thousands of dollars. Aside from the side-written Batrite that sold for $50,000, this is the highest graded Gehrig Batrite ever authenticated by MEARS. Length: 35 inches. Weight: 33 ounces. Graded A5.5 by MEARS. LOA from Dave Bushing & Troy Kinunen/MEARS. Reserve $2,500. Estimate $5,000/$7,000. SOLD FOR $9,400.00
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