The legend of the Great Bambino lives on almost 90 years since he last stepped on the diamond.
A Babe Ruth baseball bat made history as the most expensive bat ever sold earlier this week, reaching a price tag of $1.85 million. The prior record belonged to a Ruth bat that fetched $1.68 million.
“This baseball bat is as close to a work of art as the medium can allow,” Dave Hunt, president of Hunt Auctions, which facilitated the sale, said, via MLB.com. “When holding the 44.6-ounce weapon that Babe once used to pummel baseballs into the bleachers at New York’s Polo Grounds, it becomes immediately obvious as to the importance of this amazing baseball artifact. Equally impressive to the record price established is the enduring legacy that Ruth left for seemingly endless generations of fans who continue to revere his legend -- both on and off of the baseball field.”
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The bat, which comes from Ruth’s playing days with the New York Yankees in the 1920s, was originally auctioned off at the Polo Grounds. The original owner of the bat didn’t actually buy it, though. Instead, it was a gift from his boss.
“I am very familiar with the 'Polo Grounds' Babe Ruth bat, bringing it into the hobby 30 years ago,” John Taube of PSA Pro Bat Services said. “I remember vividly the excitement that surrounded the day it was being hand delivered to my home by the original owner. When I first picked the bat up like all collectors, I was amazed at the 44-plus ounce weight of the bat, wondering how Ruth could swing it. The rich brown patina and the Ruth characteristics that were present, then and now, establish the bat as one of the premier Babe Ruth game used bats in any collection, public or private.”
On top of the hefty cost, the sheer size of the bat is notable. The 44-ounce lumber is much heavier than the bats used today, which usually come in around 32 or 33 ounces.
The $1.85 million bat is not the most expensive Ruth memorabilia ever sold. A uniform from 1928-30 earned a $5.64 million sale in 2019.