Honus Wagner Truly Unique Bat and a Fantastic 1901 Pittsburgh Pirates Program.
Lot 1. Honus Wagner Truly Unique Bat and a Fantastic 1901 Pittsburgh Pirates Program. 1. Honus Wagner Truly Unique Bat and a Fantastic 1901 Pittsburgh Pirates Program. With the arrival of Wagner in 1900, the Pirates were soon transformed from an also-ran to a strong competitor for the National League championship. From 1900 through 1910, Pittsburgh captured four pennants and a world championship. Meanwhile, Wagner earned seven batting titles and led the league in RBI four times. If the N.L. had chosen an MVP in 1901, Wagner would have been a top candidate. He led the league in RBI with 126, a career high, and 49 stolen bases. He also contributed to the Pirates’ first N.L. title with 194 hits and a .353 batting average. THE BAT: Before 1905, when Wagner signed the first ever bat endorsement contract with Louisville Slugger, baseball lacked hard limits on bat lengths and weights. That’s not to suggest that Wagner ever contemplated striding to the plate with his 42.5-INCH, 5-POUND special dark-brown bat offered here! The history and use of the bat are uncertain. Through Wagner’s granddaughter, our consignor did learn that bat belonged to the Flying Dutchman. She recalls seeing him swing it. It might have been an award for his 1901 MVP-like season. He might have swung it as he waited on deck to face an opposing pitcher. He certainly would not have needed to add a weight to it to lighten the feel of his game bat! THE BAT is truly one-of-a-kind. “Hans (Honus) Wagner” is painted on the barrel, and “1901 PBBC (Pittsburgh Base Ball Club),” on a ring around the end of the bat. THE PROGRAM: Accompanying the bat is one of the finest 1901 Pirates programs known. The eight-page (plus covers) program is scored for a 15-2 win over the Brooklyn Superbas (Dodgers) on July 20. Wagner (at third base), Fred Clarke and Ginger Beaumont are in the pre-printed lineup for Pittsburgh, and Joe Kelley and Willie Keeler for Brooklyn. The program has photos and profiles of Tommy Leach, Wagner, Chief Zimmer, John Donahue, Jesse Tannehill, John O’Connor, Ed Poole, Sam Leever, Jack Chesbro, Lewis Wiltse, Beaumont, Claude Ritchey and Fred Ely, and photos of Clarke (outside back cover), Deacon Phillipe and William Bransfield. The program is ex, clean and free of creases, with “1901” in pen on the front cover. The back cover has small corner chips, and the pages in the second half of the program have small chips in the upper right corner. MORE ABOUT THE BAT: Our consignor has provided a notarized letter stating what is known about the bat’s history. In it, he recounts a conversation with Wagner’s granddaughter, Leslie Ann Roberts (Blair). The letter states that she “confirmed this Bat was that of Honus Wagner. It … probably was an Award Bat – or used by Honus in practice.” The Bat is from the personal collection of George Ryden, Pittsburgh’s first full-time sports collectibles dealer and a well respected collector and fixture in the hobby for more than 45 years. “Unique” is high on the list of adjectives misused and overused. In this case, it absolute fits! Winning Bid $4,608.