Even the sizable shadow of Babe Ruth couldn’t eclipse the popularity of Lou Gehrig. The man who became known as the “Iron Horse”, earned his nickname from his ability to stay on the field when others intermittently retreated to recuperation. The Yankees soon won multiple championships when Gehrig arrived. Teamed with Ruth and Tony Lazzeri, Gehrig was a key figure in New York’s renowned Murderers Row of 1927.
The Hall of Famer was dealt a cruel blow when he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis late in his career. But alas, it is better to remember the greatness he brought to the middle of the Yankee lineup in the boon of his time in Gotham.
From that boon and with fan gratitude, we present this game used Lou Gehrig bat from the 1929-30 labeling period. The analysis in authentication was provided by MEARS (Grade A7):
Labeling Period/Factory Stamping (1929-30): Consistent with Hanna Batrite incorporating their company patent stamp in the knob. This bat has a very faint presence of a factory stamp. It may have been issued with a hand-turned knob, then an attempt to add the stamp occurred. The practice has been seen before.
Barrel end markings/Length: TA = Tempered Ash (preparation process). “11” was the model number assigned to Gehrig. “5” references bat length of 35. However, the typical indication of 5 = 35″ does not apply here. This bat measures 34″. To note, complete Batrite records are unknown. The comparison of length and weight (by MEARS) was done via H&B factory records. Ordering patterns by Gehrig are consistent with the 34″ length ordered in 1938 & ’39. Also, for the years 1925-30 many orders for Gehrig’s bats were listed in his personal records as length not specified.
Weight: There’s no Hanna Batrite records available. H&B records confirm 33-42 oz. weight tolerances. This bat weighs 32.75 oz. which falls within the acceptable weight tolerances ordered by Gehrig. It’s also possible that he might have requested a lighter bat be made by Batrite.
Model: The 11 model is consistent with the comparison to the Lou Gehrig H&B model G69. The main feature is the slender knob style he used from 1931-35. According to MEARS records, a G69 H&B lathe bat compared favorably to this bat. This indicates the bat as a model ordered and used by Gehrig during the 1930s.
Use: Heavy use is found throughout the barrel of the bat. Deadwood can be found above and below the barrel stampings. Deadwood can be found on the reverse barrel. Heavy cleat marks can be found on the front of the barrel, with some heavy cleat marks touching the barrel stampings.
Also for the sake of full disclosure, the bat was professionally restored as it was previously cracked. Even with restoration, the original game characteristics are visible upon inspection.
Additional Documented Research: Photographic: Several photos exist slowing Hanna bats lined up in front of the Yankee dugout including one of Gehrig reaching for a Hanna bat.
Low & Outside – Baseball in the Depression book – full page photo (p. 124). This photo shows Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio with 1930s (centerbrand) Batrite.
Mastronet Guide to Game Used Bats book – Gehrig provided compelling court testimony in the lawsuit against Hanna Batrite by Louisville Slugger. In summary, the name of a ball player on the bat means that this is the bat actually used by that player. According to Gehrig, ” My name appears on all the baseball bats to which I have for my own personal use, so that when I go to pick up my bat to go to the plate to hit I will know.”
We can’t guarantee you will here whispers from the dugout of Yankees past in this bat however, the lumber represents a bygone era. Lou Gehrig game bats are extremely rare (even more rare than Babe Ruth) with approximately 20 known exemplars. The stunning Hanna Batrite is a great attribution as it is more scarce than it’s Louisville Slugger counterpart. It’s indeed from a small window of time Gehrig had the contract. Any Iron Horse game bat is spectacular and this once gripped in his hands, can be compared to a scepter of celestial standing, for which none exceeds.
Authentication: MEARS Graded A7