For advanced game used bat collectors or Boston Red Sox historians, offered is the finest, and only Harry Hooper game used bat known. There is simply not a better known example.
Hooper was born in Bell Station, CA. A graduate in engineering at Saint Mary’s College of California, he broke into the majors with the Red Sox in 1909. He was traded to the Chicago White Sox in the 1921 season and finished his career in 1925.
Hooper was known as a top-caliber defensive right fielder and a solid leadoff hitter. Between 1910 and 1915, he teamed with Tris Speaker (CF) and Duffy Lewis (LF) to form one of the finest outfield trios in baseball history.
Over his career, Hooper scored 100 runs or higher three times; batted .300 or higher five times, and stole 20 or more bases nine times. He also finished in the top ten list in triples seven times and in home runs three times.
Hooper is the only person to be a part of four Red Sox World Series championships: in 1912, 1915, 1916 and 1918. On October 13, 1915, he became the second player to hit two home runs in a single World Series game. Hooper was also the captain of the Red Sox in 1919.
He holds the Red Sox franchise records for most triples (130) and stolen bases (300).
Examination of the bat reveals its production date as 1911-15, as evidenced by the second version of the Louisville Slugger center brand which reads, “JF Hillerich & Son Co”. The barrel was originally blank, as was custom during the earliest days of bat history. Not until 1918 did Babe Ruth make the practice of adding signature to the barrel popular.
In order to identify this bat, “HOOPER” was factory applied 2” right of the center brand. Additionally, “HOOPER” was stamped into the knob. Both served as the earliest forms of player bat identification.
As is the case with most pre 1920 player bat records, little information survived at the Louisville Slugger plant, but this bat is documented via surviving examples of Harry Hooper’s file cards, which noted the following information:
“File Card: His Old Harry Hooper, H4, 35”, Caliper only.
1920 – His Model / n/s (length not specified) and 36/37 ounces.
1923 – His Old Hooper Model
1925 – His Old Hooper, 38-39 oz.
Therefore, the length of the bat (35”) and weight (36.5 ounces) falls within an acceptable range of surviving Hooper records. Also, the actual notation of the side writing, “OLD HARRY HOOPER” is a direct reference to one of the references on Hooper’s personal bat card which was archived as part of the Louisville Slugger factory.
This bat boasts a double whammy in terms of authenticity. Besides being side written, this bat was also vault marked.”H41” is factory stamped and painted white on both ends of the bat. This practice is consistent with all documented H&B vault marked bats. The practice of vault marking a bat was to place the model number on the barrel’s end and paint it white. During Louisville Slugger’s earliest days, this served as the companies’ database for which future bats were produced.
Bat exhibits heavy game use with a small 2” handle crack. The bat’s finish remains original and untouched, as it last left the H&B factory. Bat receives 5 points for matching known player factory records, 3 points for use and 2 points for the H&B letter resulting in a final grade of MEARS A10.
Until 2004 when this bat sold in auction, it remained housed in the Louisville Slugger vault room with hundreds of other vault marked examples. It had been stored in the exact same location of over 80+ years. To document the sale, a “LOUISVILLE SLUGGER” hologram appears on the handle of the bat. Sold in 2004 for $21,500 (sale price plus buyers premium).
Simply the finest Harry Hooper bat extant.
View this item in our August auction at the following link: http://www.mearsonlineauctions.com/lotdetail.aspx?lotid=50038