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1927-1929 Babe Ruth Hanna Batrite Pro-Model Bat - PSA/DNA
Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $8,400
Exceedingly rare Babe Ruth pro-model bat produced by the Hanna Manufacturing Company of Athens, Georgia. Accompanied by an LOA from John Taube of PSA/DNA. As noted in the PSA/DNA letter, "the use of Hanna bats at the major league level is undisputed." However, even though REA has handled Hanna examples from other players, including Lou Gehrig, this is the first Babe Ruth pro-model Hanna Batrite bat we have ever offered.
Because no Hanna Manufacturing player-order records exist, PSA/DNA states it in its letter that "when assessing the likelihood of a Hanna bat being ordered and game used by a player, we refer to bat orders during the same labeling period, appearing on the player's Professional Bat Ordering Records (PBOR) on file at Louisville Slugger Incorporated." By those standards, the offered bat compares quite favorably to Ruth's H&B counterparts from the era. This bat measures 35.75 inches in length and weighs 39.6 ounces, with both specifications compatible in range to those found on H&B Ruth bats from the same time period. Furthermore, PSA/DNA notes that the "knob, handle, and barrel dimensions of the subject bat are very close to the R34 Louisville Slugger model ordered by Ruth from May 14th, 1927 through September 22nd, 1931." Ruth's name is stamped on the barrel, with the complete stamping reading "Georgia Driver/Ruth Type/Steel Temper."
The bat's pro-model status is based upon a number of unique features, which PSA/DNA notes in its letter:
Stamped on the knob of the bat is '43' representing the original weight. Hanna Manufacturing placed weights only on professional model bats. This is only the fourth Hanna that we have seen with the weight on the knob. The other three bats are represented by two Lou Gehrig bats and a Sam Rice. One of the Gehrigs, PSA/DNA Certification number 1B04928, has been photo matched with Gehrig in 1930. An additional feature of the bat confirming it as a pro model is the appearance of the model number '12' on the face of the barrel. The bat is stamped above the Hanna "Bat" logo with TA 126. The "TA" is for tempered ash with "12" as the model number and "6" for the length. Referring to the available Hanna retail catalogs the model listed for Ruth is "5." We can also add that the quality of the tempered ash, denoted by the wide straight grain, also conveys professional standards.
According to PSA/DNA, the bat displays evidence of "excellent" use, including checking (grain swelling) and ball marks on the left, right, and back barrel. The bat had a handle crack and a crack along the top of the barrel, both of which have been professionally repaired. The crack in the handle had at one time been repaired with tape, which was later removed. The bat was also refinished at the time of its repair. PSA/DNA concludes by stating that "the condition of the bat today with the noted repairs prohibits us from confirming game use by Babe Ruth." Despite the fact that many of the tell-tale Ruth game-used traits, if they were originally present, have been obscured by the repairs, this is still a fascinating and desirable Ruth pro-model Hanna bat, and one dating to the time of the Yankees' great 1927-1928 baseball dynasty and "Murderers' Row, " when Ruth was at the peak of his powers and popularity. As such, it offers collectors the opportunity to acquire a very uncommon Ruth pro-model bat, but at a fraction of the cost that an ideal circa 1927 factory-documented H&B example would command at auction. LOA from John Taube of PSA/DNA. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $8,400
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