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Lot # 17 (of 1743)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1950-1960 Ted Williams Signed Pro-Model Bat with Outstanding Player Provenance

Starting Bid - $5,000, Sold For - $23,500

Ted Williams H&B signature-model ("W166") bat dating from the 1950-1960 manufacturing period. Graded A9 by MEARS, one of only three graded at this level, with just six graded higher. Its high-grade status notwithstanding, this Ted Williams bat comes with the provenance of having originated from former Red Sox first baseman Walt Dropo, who later had Williams personally sign it for him on the barrel. In an accompanying one-page letter, written by David McCarthy, executive director of the Ted Williams Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, and dated September 18, 2007, he reveals the bat's direct line of provenance. In full:

Please find enclosed Ted Williams personal game used bat from 1951. This great piece of history has been on display at the Ted Williams Museum for the past 2 years at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. The bat was obtained as a gift by former Red Sox first baseman Walt Dropo who had Ted sign it later in his career. The bat was sold to a Mr. Gerry Rittenburg of Bedford, New York. Mr. Rittenburg is a member of the Executive Board of the Ted Williams Museum and later donated the bat to Ted's Museum, which was located at the time in Hernando, Florida. Upon moving into the new Museum at Tropicana Field, the bat was no longer needed for display. All proceeds of this sale will be deposited directly into the Ted Williams Foundation for charity.

As McCarthy notes, this bat was publicly offered and sold by the Museum in 2007. It has been consigned to this auction directly from the original purchaser. Physically, the bat displays all of the traits one would hope to find on a Williams bat, the most important of which is a painted number "9" (Williams' uniform number) on the knob. A painted number "9" (as opposed to it being written in marker) is a highly desirable and ideal trait for a Ted Williams bat and one that is the exception rather than the rule. This is the first example we have ever offered to feature it. Heavy use is displayed along its entire length, including dead wood on both the front and reverse of the barrel (dead wood is also a desirable trait, as it is the result of repetitive contact with pitched balls). A small triangular layer of wood, approximately 1 x 1-inch, is missing from the reverse of the barrel and there is a 7 x 1-inch area of light discoloration to the wood on the front of the barrel. Williams has signed the bat in blue marker (grading "9") on the side of the barrel. According to the letter, Dropo acquired this bat in 1951. That was Williams' last full season before serving two years in Korea as a Navy fighter pilot. Williams batted .318 with 30 home runs and 126 RBI, while leading the league in bases on balls (144), on-base percentage (.464), and slugging percentage (.556). Length: 35 inches. Weight: 33.5 ounces. Graded A9 by MEARS (base grade of 5, plus 3 points for use and 2 points combined for the painted number "9" on the knob and provenance, but minus a half point each for the discoloration on the front of the barrel and the small piece missing on the reverse). This is an exceptional Ted Williams pro-model bat in all respects, all the more so given its unique and extremely significant provenance, the fact that it features a painted number "9" on the knob, and the added appeal of having been signed by Williams. LOAs from Troy Kinunen/MEARS and James Spence/JSA. Reserve $5,000. Estimate $10,000/$15,000+. SOLD FOR $23,500

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