A nearly 100-year-old bat that New York Yankee legend Lou Gehrig used and wanted to copy as part of his first sponsorship deal was sold for $ 1.025 million.
The bat was at auction in February and did not reach its reserve price, but a private buyer then came forward and finalized the purchase last week, Chris Ivy, director of sport auctions at Heritage Auctions in Dallas, says ESPN.
The 40-ounce piece of wood was nicknamed “Bat Zero” because its marks indicate that the Baseball Hall of Fame owned it before it made a deal with Hillerich and Bradsby (the makers of Louisville Slugger bats) for it supply when he joined the Yankees in 1924. Gehrig wanted the company to use the bat as a model.
“He sent this one back and said,” Like the specifications, I like the length, I like the weight and I like the way this bat was made at the factory, “said Ivy.
The bat is dated April 22, 1925, when the company started producing Louisville Sluggers for Gehrig.
“At the time, these guys kept their bats for years,” said the auction company. Robert Wilonsky told The Athletic. “They were 40-ounce bats, and they were made very differently. So they were heavier bats and they lasted longer. ”
Heritage Auctions strives to verify the authenticity of the bats and other items it sells. Thanks to player records, contracts and other evidence, he was able to trace this particular bat until at least 1922. However, Wilonsky says there could be more in history.
“(T) here is a discussion about the fact that it could have been a bat that Gehrig used while he was at Columbia (University), and Hartford, then with the Yankees,” said Wilonsky.
However, the bat is not the most expensive piece of Gehrig memories. Ivy says a 1937 jersey, one of four worn by The Iron Horse this season, sold last August for $ 2.58 million.