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1934-1937 Joe Cronin Side-Written Pro-Model Bat
Starting Bid - $500, Sold For - $7,050
Joe Cronin H&B signature-model bat (predating model numbers) dating from the 1934-1937 manufacturing period. Graded a perfect GU10 by PSA/DNA. The most distinguishing feature of this bat, and what in part makes it one of the finest Joe Cronin bats in existence, is the bold side writing on both the barrel and handle. 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 an H&B employee and stored in the vaults for future reference. In that regard, the side writing on bats is recognized by the most sophisticated collectors as being the equivalent of having a letter of authenticity from the player himself. According to the written notations here, Cronin returned this bat to the factory in 1936. The writing on the barrel reads "36 oz. Joe Cronin 7-29-36," while the handle notations also include his team affiliation: "Joe Cronin Boston Red Sox BBC 7-29-36." The bat displays heavy use, including ball marks, cleat marks, and a professionally restored crack (indeterminate length) in the handle. It must be noted that the crack in the handle was obviously repaired following PSA/DNA's examination of the bat, as its letter states: "The handle has been taped to secure the crack and there is a heavy coat of pine tar on the upper handle." (As a result of the subsequent repair, the aforementioned tape is no longer present and nearly all of the pine tar has been cleaned off. The crack is now virtually undetectable.) 1936 marked Joe Cronin's second season with Boston. Unfortunately, a broken finger caused him to miss nearly half of the 1936 season and his final numbers (.288 average with 2 home runs and 43 RBI in 81 games) reflected his handicap that year. Cronin, who also served as manager of the Red Sox from 1935 through 1947, was one of the top-hitting shortstops of his day and a model of consistency at the plate. From 1929 through 1941, the main portion of his career, Cronin never batted less than .281 or higher than .346, and he retired in 1945 with lifetime .301 average. Also, despite the fact that he was not a power hitter (he never hit more than twenty-four home runs in a season), he managed to drive in over 100 runs on eight separate occasions and finished his career with 1,424 RBI. Length: 35 inches. Weight: 34.7 ounces. Graded GU10 by PSA/DNA. LOA from John Taube and Vince Malta of PSA/DNA. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000/$2,000. SOLD FOR $7,050
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