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1923-1925 Ty Cobb H&B Pro-Model Bat (PSA/DNA and MEARS A7.5)
Starting Bid - $5,000, Sold For - $11,850
Ty Cobb H&B signature-model bat (predating model numbers) dating from the 1923-1925 manufacturing period. This bat is accompanied by LOAs from both PSA/DNA and MEARS, which has graded the bat A7.5. The bat, which is not cracked, measures 35 inches in length and weighs 39.5 ounces. PSA/DNA describes the use as "outstanding," including slight checking (grain swelling) on the back barrel and a few small depressions on the left barrel. MEARS also adds that there are two cleat marks, a distinct Cobb characteristic, just to the right of the center brand. PSA/DNA makes note in its letter that while the weight of this bat conforms to those used by Cobb at the time, its length is one-half-inch longer than the model appearing on Cobb's professional bat ordering record on file at the Louisville Slugger Museum. As such, PSA/DNA concludes that "the bat could have been used by Cobb, but could also have been used by another team member on the Major or Minor League roster of the Detroit Tigers or another professional ball club." MEARS takes no exception to the length of the bat and is emphatic that the length is not just within accepted tolerances, but is a positive factor consistent with use by Cobb in this length, supported by photographic evidence and imagery analysis.
A research report by Dave Grob of MEARS entitled "Ty Cobb Bats and the Use of Imagery Analysis" provides extraordinary detailed analysis relating to the issue of Cobb bats and their lengths and is published online:
This is extremely impressive work, and we believe it speaks for itself!
While it is interesting to note the different approaches to authentication by PSA and MEARS on this bat (both letters are posted online), both companies have enthusiastically authenticated the bat as an outstanding 1923-1925 Ty Cobb H&B model. MEARS, however, has provided an enormous amount of additional research that conclusively addresses the specifications of the bat and the one-half inch differential in length compared to the listed length in the incomplete H&B ordering records that are cited by PSA. This extremely rare model has all characteristics of a Ty Cobb game-used bat. MEARS' comment section reads, in full: "1920's game used Ty Cobb Louisville Slugger bat. Bat perfectly matches manufacturer's characteristics. Bat exhibits medium use with 2 distinct Ty Cobb trademark cleat marks." LOAs from John Taube and Vince Malta of PSA/DNA and Troy Kinunen/MEARS. Reserve $5,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $11,850
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