Auction Item Details

Back Lot Number: 279  
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Description: Unique and significant Babe Ruth professional model baseball bat with training modifications c.1933-34 (PSA/DNA). Fascinating piece of baseball history as originally obtained by Frederick Elias Dugger who was playing for the St. Louis Browns farm team during the 1920s. Dugger was not making enough money so he elected to return home to coal mining and was subsequently offered a job, and spot on the factory baseball team, for $90 per week by Delco Remy company based on his reputation as a slugger. Dugger played into the 1940s until he broke his ankle sliding into third base. According to family history, the offered Babe Ruth model bat was given to Dugger by Ruth at some point during his tenure as a semi-pro player. The bat itself is a Louisville Slugger 125 model bat measuring 35 3/4" long and weighing 42.6oz. The labeling period dates to the 1934-34 seasons and features a "Hack Wilson" style knob along with omission of the "Powerized" stamping by the trademark area. Bat exhibits evident use including ball marks, stitching impressions, grain swelling, and handle scoring. Additionally, the barrel end of the bat has been partially hollowed out with lead inserted and sealed by cork at the end. Based on analysis of Louisville Slugger factory records the offered bat does not match the player record orders and as such must be considered a non-recorded professional model bat. While uncommon, this practice certainly has precedent including similar documented examples from Lou Gehrig and Al Simmons both of whom requested special order bats without specific stampings. Furthermore, based on the distinctive model of the Ruth professional model bat it can be eliminated that the bat was a team ordered index bat. Several other non-recorded professional model bats have been documented including those used by Ruth, DiMaggio, Campanella, Bench, and Schmidt each having been authenticated but not appearing on the factory player bat record cards. With regard to the weighted end of the bat it is well documented that weighted bats weighing as much as 50ounces were used by Major League teams based on notations within other player bat records referencing "lead" for the respective bats. Interestingly, and perhaps serving as an evidentiary point of reference is an additional Louisville Slugger 125 model bat with "Hack Wilson" knob as retained within the Dugger family (see catalogue photo). That particular bat was used by Frederick Dugger during his playing days and is being retained by the family. Perhaps Dugger ordered a similar model bat after receiving the Babe's bat in emulation of his hero or it is also possible that someone noted Dugger using a similar bat and presented him with the Ruth bat noting the similarity. In either case, the Babe Ruth bat presents as a truly unique example with desirable primary source provenance. Separately, it must be considered when examining the factual information presented that the offered bat was in fact a special order non-recorded Babe Ruth which was used by Ruth in game play and subsequently modified for training purposes. While the precise sequence of event history surrounding the bat are lost to history it is clearly evident that the bat exhibits heavy use and characteristic traits of other Ruth game bats including handle scoring. Very unique and intriguing Babe Ruth professional bat with substantive provenance. Includes LOA from PSA/DNA, LOA from Hunt Auctions, letter of provenance from the Dugger family, photograph of the Frederick Dugger Louisville Slugger model bat, and modern copy of a period image showing Frederick Dugger in full baseball uniform: EX
Estimated Price Range: ($20,000-$40,000)
Current EST:  10/15/18 10:59:06 AM
  Sold for Price: $16,000.00;