August Live 2014
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on:
Above all, history remembers the hitting heroics of 1927, 1941, 1961 and 1998. But Hank Greenberg's 1938 season deserves consideration.
With Hitler on the march overseas and our world drifting toward war, the Hebrew Hammer became the most famous Jewish-American icon while chasing Babe Ruth's home-run record. Some even contend that Anti-Semitism doomed Greenberg's pursuit (click here for a NYT article about his excessive intentional walks), though Hank's humble take on that theory was that it was "pure baloney."
Indeed, Greenberg's consommate modesty was such that in his 1989 autobiography, he played down the significance of his barrier-breaking banner campaign: "Naturally I was disappointed in not getting the record after having come so close. But as a matter of fact, my 58 home runs didn’t afford me any thrill. I never compared myself to the Babe, and I wasn’t that kind of home-run hitter. I averaged around 35, so this was just a freak season for me. My goal in baseball was always RBIs, to break Gehrig’s record of 184 RBIs. I would have loved to do that…But my 58 homers in 1938—falling two short of the Babe’s record—has become so closely associated with my name that by now they usually go together in the same breath: Hank Greenberg—58 home runs…History labels you incorrectly. I would have said that I should have been remembered for driving in 183 runs, but instead, I’m remembered for a record that I didn’t find particularly satisfying." The fact remains, however, that 1938 saw Greenberg circle the bases at an astounding career-high rate of once every 9.6 at-bats, and he also set the all-time single-season mark of 11 multi-homer games (later "equaled" by Sammy Sosa)—all against the backdrop of rising Nazism.
Presented here is an outstanding and quite rare gamer that can be pinpointed to 1938 due to the 32.7-oz. weight (Greenberg's bats dropped to 33-35 oz. in 1938 and 1939) and the autograph of Tony Piet who was only on the Tigers roster in 1938. The 35-1/8"-long H&B ash bat exhibits excellent usage throughout, with a slight crack on the lower handle, cleat impressions, several ball marks and ball stitch impressions on the left and back barrel, and green bat rack streaks. The handle also demonstrates scoring (to enhance the grip) and a light coat of pine tar. What's more, the bat has been signed in black fountain pen by Greenberg and his fellow Tigers. The scriptings have been placed on the barrel and reflect "3-5" quality with some nicer as noted. Includes: Auker ("8"), Benton, Bridges, Christman, Fox, Gehringer ("3"), Gill, Greenberg ("4"), Harris, Kennedy, Laabs, Lawson, Miller (coach), Piet, Poffenberger ("8"), Wade ("8"), York and a few others. FULL LOA from JSA. Graded 8.5 by PSA/DNA. Click here to view the PSA/DNA LOA from John Taube.
Hank Greenberg 1938 H&B Game Used Team Signed Bat - Graded 8.5 by PSA/DNA - Featuring Greenberg and Gehringer
Click above for larger image.