Baseball bat used by Lou Gehrig fetches $715,120 at auction

Company received 26 bids for bat used by New York Yankees legend

Lou Gehrig

Lou Gehrig

 

A baseball bat used by Lou Gehrig at the twilight of his legendary career with the New York Yankees sold for $715,120 over the weekend.

The bat – a 34-inch, 36-ounce Bill Dickey model Louisville Slugger – was used by Gehrig in 1938, his final full season as a key cog in the early dynasties of the Yankees franchise, according to SCP Auctions.

It may have been used by Gehrig in a World Series sweep of the Chicago Cubs that year and the next spring, said the company, which indicated that it had received 26 bids for the bat before online bidding ended Saturday.

SCP Auctions, which is based in Laguna Niguel, California, and specialises in sports memorabilia sales, would not identify the buyer, other than to say it was a private collector.

Gehrig gave the bat, which was made from ash, to Earle Combs, a one-time Yankees teammate and coach who, like Gehrig, was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, the company said.

“It’s one of the best Lou Gehrig bats ever discovered and, obviously, the provenance is impeccable,” David Kohler, the auction house’s owner, president and chief executive, said.

With his batting average having fallen below .300 and his home run production waning, Gehrig dispensed with his heavier bat toward the end of the 1938 season.

The 1939 season was Gehrig’s last in baseball; the durable but ailing first baseman, who was known as the Iron Horse, removed himself from the line-up that May after playing in 2,130 straight games.

He was found the next month to have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the fatal neurological disorder that later became known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He gave his farewell speech on July 4th, 1939, a moment dramatised in The Pride of the Yankees, a 1942 film starring Gary Cooper.

“When this bat was found,” Kohler said, “we were like, Wow, this is a remarkable piece of history for baseball fans, Yankee fans and Lou Gehrig fans.”

The six-figure price might give some people sticker shock, but other bats and baseball artefacts have commanded much more on the auction block.

In December 2019, a bat used by Babe Ruth to hit his 500th career home run in 1929 sold for more than $1 million. A bat used by Ruth to hit the first home run at the old Yankee Stadium in 1923, sold by the same company in conjunction with Sotheby’s, fetched nearly $1.3 million in 2004.

As part of the same online sale in which Gehrig’s bat was auctioned, an original home plate from Yankee Stadium that was installed just before opening day in 1923 sold for $303,277.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.