The Eventual Price of a 1923 Ruth Bat

 

Babe Ruth Bat Used
1st Yankee Stadium HR
April 18, 1923
Later Sold for $1.265 Million

On April 18, 1923, the New York Yankees played their first game in history at the brand new Yankee Stadium in The Bronx before a home crowd of 74,200. Would Babe Ruth help christen the place as “The House That Ruth Built” with one of his newly fashioned deadball-air-clearing home runs? It didn’t take long to get an answer.

In the bottom of the 3rd inning, facing Boston Red Sox starter Howard Ehmke, with 2 on and 2 out, Ruth unloaded the first home run in Yankee Stadium history. The Yankees went on to win the game, 4-1, in 2 hours and 5 minutes.

https://www.psacard.com/articles/articleview/6166/historic-bat-used-by-babe-ruth-hit-first-home-run-old-yankee-stadium-featured-tlc-s-accidental-fortune

The linked article reports the historic first Yankee Stadium home run bat by Babe Ruth in these terms:

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Ruth had given the bat to the Los Angeles Evening Herald, and Victor Orsatti won it in a high school home run-hitting contest sponsored by the newspaper. Ruth inscribed on the bat, “To the Boy Home Run King of Los Angeles ‘Babe’ Ruth, N.Y. May 7, 1923.”

Upon his death in the early 1980s, Orsatti gave the bat to his caretaker, who chose SCP Auctions as a partner in the marketing and sale of the bat and to prove that it was indeed the one used to hit the first home run in old Yankee Stadium. Accompanying the bat is a congratulatory telegram Orsatti received from “The Babe.”

After the bat spent 80 years in hiding, SCP Auctions was given the opportunity to showcase and feature the bat in a New York auction in 2004, when it sold for $1.265 million.

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One has to wonder. ~ How much of the $1.265 million dollar sale price actually went to the Orsatti caretaker heir? ~ And how much went to the SCP Auctions company that made the sale possible? ~ And how much did Uncle Sam allow them both to keep? ~ What was the point of the bat’s new acquirement by new ownership? ~ And where is the bat today? ~ Is it on public display anywhere ~ Or is it squirreled away in another dark, secure place? ~ And is it just the power point of ego that drives this hobby to this level of art in big business? ~ And is knowing that one is the power-driven possessor of a special thing like a famous bat the force that drives collectors on this level? ~ Or is it simply another playful version of whoever’s got the most money wins the game?

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

 

 

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