A bat used by the legendary Babe Ruth during the 1920 and 1921 seasons sold for $1.85 million in a private treaty sale this week, setting a record for the sale of a Babe Ruth artifact. According to MLB.com, the previous record was $1.68 million for another one of the Great Bambino's bats. The bat is also the most expensive ever purchased at auction.
The bat, which was used by Ruth when the Yankees played at the Polo Grounds in New York City -- before Yankee Stadium opened in 23 -- was originally given as a gift from a boss to his employee in the 1920s before it resided in a private bat collection for several decades. The 44-plus ounce bat has been photo matched to actual pictures of Ruth swinging it through an examination of its grain patterns as well as the Louisville Slugger trademark stamp.
Historic Babe Ruth professional model bat once displayed at Polo Grounds sold for $1,850,000. The bat was assigned the highest grade (GU10) by @PSAcard in addition to being photo matched to 1921 season. World record price for any baseball bat! @Yankees @MLB pic.twitter.com/f5Frx3fVxS— Hunt Auctions (@HuntAuctions) April 5, 2023
"This baseball bat is as close to a work of art as the medium can allow," read a statement by Dave Hunt. "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."
The date of the bat's usage coincides with Ruth's arrival in New York, when his contract was sold by the Boston Red Sox to the New York Yankees. Ruth subsequently became one of baseball's most iconic figures setting a then-MLB record of 714 home runs and batting .342 with 2,214 RBI over 22 major-league seasons.