The Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory Auction Event, is on November 14 at 11am EST online with Invaluable.com and in person at the museum and factory in Louisville, Kentucky. The auction features memorabilia like signed or used pieces by some of the biggest names in baseball. There are pieces from legendary players like Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Ken Griffey Jr., Yogi Berra, Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, and more. Here are a few of the noteworthy auction items available:
Lot 289: Fine Lou Gehrig professional model baseball bat c. 1930-31 (PSA/DNA graded “GU 8”)
Estimated Price: $75,000 – $100,000
The bat originates from a primary source descendant of a former Washington area bat boy whom is believed to have spent time with several teams inclusive of the Washington Senators. According to family history, the young bat boy had the occasion to meet several notable individuals during this period and one particularly special encounter was with Lou Gehrig. The 1930-31 time period was particularly productive for Gehrig who turned in numbers that would have been career years for nearly any other player conceivable. A fresh to market Gehrig game bat is always noteworthy and an example with strong provenance and usage characteristics is an exceedingly rare find.
Lot 376: Jackie Robinson professional model baseball bat with uniform #42 on knob c. 1952
Estimated Price: $50,000 – $100,000
This particular bat was obtained in the 1950s by a Brooklyn area youth, Edward Guidi, whose father was well acquainted with a Brooklyn Dodgers clubhouse employee. On one of the occasions which the boy and his father attended a Dodgers game the team employee brought the offered bat to the man and gave it to his son indicating that, He’d like him to have the bat since he did not have any kids and to enjoy it. The bat has since resided in the collection of the original recipient until its current offering. This particular Jackie Robinson bat ranks among the very finest of its type to have been offered with direct primary source provenance and extremely rare #42 player indicator on knob end.
Lot 293: Fine 1931 New York Yankees team signed baseball
Estimated Price: $10,000 – $15,000
Red and blue stitched Reach W.Harridge Official American League baseball has been signed by (25) incl. Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Tony Lazzeri, Lefty Gomez, Red Ruffing, Earle Combs, Bill Dickey, George Pipgras, Cy Perkins, Herb Pennock, Sam Byrd, and others. Joe Sewell and Dusty Cooke are clubhouse signed. All are done in period fountain pen rating 7-8 out of 10. Ball displays some mild toning and light evident usage wear with faded but well defined stampings. A choice example dating to this highly desirable period.
I had no idea what to expect when I plugged in the numbers for first basemen. I couldn’t even guess at a top five list, except to say that Lou Gehrig would likely be near the top. When all the statistics were plugged into the spreadsheet, Gehrig (294.01) was near the top, but not at the #1 position. That spot was claimed by Jimmie Foxx (294.89), who beat out the Iron Horse by .88 points. This was easily the closest contest at any position.
However, it is likely that the #1 position will be claimed by another player in the very near future. Albert Pujols (285.0), with only twelve years in the majors, is at #3 on the list, behind both Foxx and Gehrig by less than 10 points. Just one monster season with an MVP award could push Pujols to the top.
Pete Rose (253.18) falls in at the #4 spot. Now, before you start yammering on about how Rose spent most of his time in the outfield, let me point out that he split that time between the three outfield spots. Rose played more games at first base than he did in left field, right field, or center field. Thus, he is included here for the sake of putting him somewhere. That is the same reason Joe Torre was included among the catchers yesterday. Had Torre been thrown in among first baseman, his 206.33 score would put him at #15 all-time, just below Willie McCovey and ahead of Hall of Famers Roger Connor and Orlando Cepeda.
The number five guy threw me off. I knew Eddie Murray (248.5) was great, but the fifth best first baseman ever? Who else saw that coming? For a long time he was an American Leaguer overshadowed by his teammate at shortstop and then bounced around quite a bit during the second half of his career, so it’s not difficult to overlook him in that regard. But you would think that a member of the 500 home run club would be a little more celebrated by baseball fans. Thankfully, the writers were paying attention and allowed him first-ballot entry into Cooperstown in 2003.
Besides Rose and Pujols, there are three other non-Hall of Famers in the top ten: the should-be-inducted-next-year Frank Thomas (#6, 241.48), the unfairly-treated-because-of-unfounded-suspicions Jeff Bagwell (#8, 234.71), and the still-employed-though-mostly-just-a-designated-hitter Jim Thome (#9, 225.5). The other two spots in the top ten go to Cap Anson (#7, 238.74) and Harmon Killebrew (#10, 220.02).
Take away the awards, and again the order gets mixed up and #10 drops off the list. Without awards and All-Star seasons, the top ten reads Gehrig, Foxx, Anson, Pujols, Murray, Thome, Rose, Bagwell, Thomas, and Hall of Famer Roger Connor. On both lists, Tony Perez comes in at #11.
Five players, one manager, and one player/manager, all Hall of Famers, have been honored with the retirement of uniform #4.
Paul Molitor, Milwaukee Brewers
The ease with which Molitor was voted into Cooperstown surprised me because I never considered him a Hall of Famer during his career. Yes, he had a .306 career average, and yes, he collected more than 3000 hits. But he never struck me as a Hall of Famer until after he was elected and I went back and looked at his career again.
Duke Snider, Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers
Earl Weaver, Baltimore Orioles
Joe Cronin, Boston Red Sox
Lou Gehrig, New York Yankees
Luke Appling, Chicago White Sox
Mel Ott, New York Giants
Ralph Kiner, Pittsburgh Pirates