LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- A Louisville Slugger signed by
"Shoeless" Joe Jackson sold for $137,500 Saturday at a
memorabilia auction held at the museum where the bats are made.
Cracked on the handle and worn on the barrel, the bat, made in
1910 or 1911, has Jackson's signature along the hitting area in
bold ink. An unidentified private collector made the purchase.
The bat was the featured piece among 412 items sold. The
Louisville Slugger Museum planned to use the funds raised by the
auction to pursue other pieces of baseball memorabilia.
The museum dredged many of the auctioned items from a warehouse
and file cabinets in the basement of the downtown Hillerich &
Bradsby Co., where the trademark bats are still manufactured.
Also Saturday, a bat used by Ty Cobb went for $132,000, a record
for a Cobb bat. Chris Cavalier, who runs a sports memorabilia
business in San Ramon, Calif., made the purchase.
"I really didn't think I'd be leaving with this bat," Cavalier
said. "It's still hard to believe I actually own it now."
The bat's value was enhanced by grease-penciled writing on the
barrel. The markings were not made by Cobb, but by a Hillerich &
Bradsby receiving agent working at the factory during Cobb's era.
They indicate that Cobb probably used the bat, then had it sent
back to Louisville to have more made exactly like it.
Bats weren't the only items on sale.
A Cleveland Indians jersey worn by Satchel Paige was sold for
$110,000. A letter handwritten by Babe Ruth, with six of his
signatures at the bottom, and its original envelope went for
$41,800. A baseball signed by Ruth and Lou Gehrig went for $31,900.