A baseball bat that Lou Gehrig used in the twilight of his iconic New York Yankees career sold for $ 715,120 over the weekend, the company said on Sunday.
The bat – a 34-inch, 36-ounce Bill Dickey model Louisville Slugger – was used by Gehrig, his last full season, as a key tooth in the early dynasties of the Yankees franchise in 1938, according to SCP Auctions.
It could have been used by Gehrig in a World Series sweep of the Chicago Cubs this year and next spring, said the company, which said it received 26 bids on the bat before online bidding ended on Saturday.
SCP Auctions, based in Laguna Niguel, Calif., Specializes in selling sports memorabilia and would not identify the buyer except to say it was a private collector.
Gehrig gave the bat, made from ashes, to Earle Combs, a former Yankees teammate and coach who, like Gehrig, was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
“It’s one of the best Lou Gehrig bats ever discovered, and obviously the provenance is impeccable,” said David Kohler, owner, president and general manager of the auction house, in an interview on Sunday evening.
According to the auction house, Gehrig did without his heavier racket towards the end of the 1938 season because his average shot had fallen below 0.300 and his domestic production declined.
The 1939 season was Gehrig’s last in baseball; The long-lived but battered first baseman known as the Iron Horse dropped from the line-up in May after playing 2,130 straight games.
The next month he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the deadly neurological disorder later known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He made his farewell address on July 4, 1939, a moment dramatized in “The Pride of the Yankees,” a 1942 film starring Gary Cooper.
“When that bat was found,” said Kohler, “we thought, wow, this is a remarkable piece of history for baseball fans, Yankee fans, and Lou Gehrig fans.”
The six-figure price tag may come as a shock to some people, but other bats and baseball artifacts have offered a lot more on the auction block.
In December 2019, a bat with which Babe Ruth completed his 500th career home run in 1929 was sold for more than $ 1 million, SCP Auctions said at the time. A bat that Ruth first home run on at old Yankee Stadium in 1923 and sold by the same company in partnership with Sotheby’s fetched nearly $ 1.3 million in 2004.
In the same online sale that auctioned Gehrig’s bat, an original home record from Yankee Stadium, installed just before the opening day in 1923, sold for $ 303,277, the auction house said.