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Lot # 1471 (of 1807)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1939-1942 Ted Williams Rookie-Era Pro-Model Bat MEARS 9.5

Starting Bid - $5,000.00, Sold For - $29,625.00

Ted Williams H&B signature-model bat (predating model numbers), dating to the 1939-1942 manufacturing period. Graded A9.5 by MEARS. Although the bat's general labeling period spans the years 1934-1944, Williams did not make his Major League debut until 1939, and he missed the entire 1943-1945 seasons due to military service. In addition, the Williams facsimile signature seen on the barrel is the earliest style used on his bats, and one that was changed in the early 1940s. All of those circumstances allow for a more precise dating of this bat to between the years 1939 and 1942. As such, it represents one of only a few rookie-era Ted Williams bats extant. The vast majority of Ted Williams bats in the hobby today date from the late 1940s and 1950s. The four-year dating period 1939-1942, of course, also includes Williams' legendary 1941 season in which he hit .406. With regard to use, one would be hard pressed to find a finer example. As MEARS notes in its accompanying letter, "The bat exhibits heavy, optimal use. Over 40+ ball marks are found above the barrel facsimile stamping. In the same upper area are signs of multiple stitch marks and deep seam marks. The heavy use above the barrel resulted in deadwood, the phenomenon of the separation of the wood grain from repeated contact of bat to ball. This is a positive trait associated with heavy game use." In addition to the numerous ball marks, the bat also displays cleat marks and both black and red bat-rack marks. The handle is scored both vertically and horizontally near the knob. Williams' uniform number ("9") is written on the knob in black paint (badly faded and just barely discernible with the naked eye). A small factory marked "1" appears on the knob, but it is unrelated to any specifications of the bat. This bat measures 35 inches in length and weighs 33.5 ounces. Both of those specifications match factory records for bats ordered by Williams in the years 1939 through 1942. This bat was originally offered by REA in its April 2007 auction, where it appeared as Lot 1313 and sold for $17,625. At that time it was offered with a letter of authenticity from both MEARS and PSA/DNA, both of which still accompany the bat. In its initial evaluation of this bat, MEARS graded it A8 (base grade of 5, plus 3 points for use), and it was sold at REA in 2007 with its accompanying MEARS A8 letter (dated 3/3/2004). At that time the extremely faint "9" on the knob was not noticed by MEARS. (In all fairness, we did not notice it either. It is extremely faint! But upon having it pointed out to us, we absolutely can see it. It is there!) On 7/27/2012 the bat was reevaluated by MEARS and received a higher grade of A9.5 (base grade of 5, plus 3 points for use, plus 2 points for player traits, including the uniform number on the knob, the scored handle, and optimal game use, but minus a half point for the deadwood on the barrel). As one can see from the LOAs (all accompany), the initial evaluation failed to notice the very faint "9" on the knob, which has resulted in the higher grade today. Both MEARS letters accompany the bat, as does the original PSA/DNA letter. This is one of the most significant Ted Williams game-used items in existence, standing far above late 1940s and 1950s style Ted Williams bats both in terms of rarity and desirability. LOAs from Troy Kinunen/MEARS and John Taube and Vince Malta of PSA/DNA. Reserve $5,000. Estimate $10,000/$15,000+.
SOLD FOR $29,625.00

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