1916 Babe Ruth Game Used "Rookie" Bat Graded with 3 LOA's and Graded GU 9
This Babe Ruth "rookie" bat is one of only three known bats of its kind; one is in the Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown and the other is in a private collection. It is a professional player's model BABE RUTH bat made by the Hillerich & Bradsby Co. (heretofore H&B) between July 12, 1916 and the end of the 1918 baseball season, during the years that Ruth played for the Boston Red Sox and before H&B began making signature model "125" bats for him to use. It was on July 12, 1916 that H&B became a corporate entity using that name; before that the company was "J.F. Hillerich & Sons Co." The name "RUTH" is engraved into the barrel in 1/4" block letters, and there is no other labeling on the barrel portion of the bat. This means that at the time this engraving was done, Ruth had not yet signed a signature endorsement contract with H&B; this contract was eventually signed on July 9, 1918, and H&B records indicate that 1919 was the first year it made signature model bats for Babe Ruth. It is therefore most likely that this bat was made either during the 1916 season after July 12, or at some time during the 1917 season. The bat is 36" and weighs 43 oz. In addition to the name engraved on the barrel, it has "Hillerich & Bradsby Co." inside the center brand, with "Louisville Slugger" above and "Louisville, KY." below. There are lathe marks on both the knob and the barrel end of the bat, which is made of dark wood and has a mid-handle crack extending about 13" which is covered up by black tape. There is also some dead wood on the barrel surface. The entire surface of the barrel shows excellent evidence of game use, with nicks, scratches and quality use on the wood. There are also some grayish paint streaks on the surface, most likely indicating that the bat came into contact with dugout and stadium surfaces. All of this indicates game use. During the early years of his 22-year major league career, Babe Ruth had far fewer plate appearances than would be suggested by his 10455 total career plate appearances. Between 1916 and 1918, he only came to the plate a total of 655 times. It goes without saying that every bat used by the great George Herman Ruth is special. The fact that this block letter Ruth bat harkens back to those early seasons of the Bambino's extraordinary career only makes it that much more special. The bat comes with three LOAs; two describing its provenance and one with its PSA grading of GU.
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