Babe Ruth H&B signature-model bat (pre-dating model numbers) dating from the 1930 season. (The precise dating was determined by the combination of the center brand stamping and Ruth's H&B factory ordering records.) Graded GU 8.5 by PSA/DNA. The bat, crafted from white hickory, displays evidence of outstanding use, including many ball marks on the left and back barrel, bat-rack streaks, a few abrasions on the right barrel, and a scored handle. A slight handle crack has been professionally repaired. The center brand dates from the 1929-1930 manufacturing period, but the bat can be more narrowly dated to 1930 by an examination of Ruth's H&B factory records. According to those records, Ruth began ordering slightly lighter bats beginning in 1929. Those lighter weights continued into 1930, with his 1930 orders also noting orders for "WH" (white hickory). After examining Ruth's 1930 bat orders, PSA/DNA has determined this particular model to be a "Pat Collins 6-16-27." Ruth placed only a single order of that particular model in white hickory in 1930, with weights of 36 and 38 ounces. The offered bat, which measures 35 inches and weighs 37.3 ounces, matches that order. PSA/DNA also writes that the bat displays a number of known Ruth characteristics, including a scored handle, small cleat impressions, and most important, a left-barrel contact area (Ruth always gripped the bat with the center brand turned away from him, resulting in the left barrel, above his branded name, contacting the ball.)
In addition to matching factory records and its ideal physical characteristics, the bat also has a unique provenance. According to our consignor, who has provided a handwritten letter of provenance, his father obtained this bat directly from Babe Ruth while attending a game at Yankee Stadium. In his letter, he writes that his father and cousin were attending a Yankees game sometime during the late 1920s. During the course of the game, Ruth's bat cracked and he walked over to the stands and handed the bat to our consignor's father, saying "this is for you kid." Our consignor's father admitted that he used the bat for a short while before it stashing it away and in later years it was displayed on a shelf in his office, where it remained until his death in 2010. Despite his father's inexact remembrance of the year in which received the bat, we now know it to have been in 1930. Ruth was still at the top of his game that year, batting .359, with a league-leading 49 home runs and 153 RBI. Ruth pro-model bats have always been highly coveted by collectors, especially those that can be pinpointed to a specific season. This is not only an outstanding example in all respects, but one that is also new to the hobby. Length: 35 inches. Weight: 37.3 ounces. LOA from John Taube of PSA/DNA. Reserve $25,000. Estimate (open).