Offered for consideration is what experts consider to be the finest Hack Wilson bat ever offered. Described at www.deadballera.com, “ He was all muscle, a barrel-chested powerhouse with blacksmith arms, and bulging thighs and calves on short legs that tapered to tiny feet. He had an 18″ collar and size #6 shoe. Hack Wilson was a physical oddity in baseball and a physical phenomenon. Sporting 195 pounds on a 5’6″ frame he was the prototype for a slugger in the new age of the lively ball…..a man who swung first and asked questions later!”
Just as he had an atypical physique, Hack Wilson also swung an odd shaped bat. The Hack Wilson Louisville Slugger model bat was certainly unique. Wilson’s club of choice is best described as having an ultra thin handle with a very small, yet defined knob. Although contemporary super star Roger Hornsby designed a bat with a very small knob, this example should not be confused with his flared variation. This model is unique to Hack Wilson. H&B designated his bat as the W64 model.
Measuring 35” and currently weighing 35 ounces, this bat is consistent with Hack Wilson’s personal H&B shipping records as being ordered throughout the 1926-30 era. His records list his bats to be ordered at weights of 36-38 ounces during the era. The customization of Wilson’s bat is documented via his factory records. On his 1/30/26 person bat card reference, it is notated, “His 1/30/26 shave a little near knob”, which are instructions to create the thin Wilson handle.
With the bat being consistent with orders from 1926-30, the following achievements should be noted:
Hack Wilson joined the Chicago Cubs during the 1926 season. It was his best season to date, highlighted by the game on May 24th, 1926 when Hack hit a drive to centerfield which smashed off the scoreboard. Up to that point, it was the longest shot ever hit at Wrigley Field, and the Cubs came from behind to win the game. While celebrating after the game, Wilson was caught at one of Al Capone’s speakeasy joints trying to sneak out the back window during a policy raid. When the season was over, Wilson led the league with 21 homeruns.
Although the team struggled, Wilson continued to have monster years and led the league both season with homeruns totals of 30 and 31.
With future Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby joining the team, the Cubs won the National League Pennant and played the Philadelphia Athletics during the World Series. Wilson was very instrumental in the Cubs success as he hit .345 with 39 homeruns.
1930 “The Peak”
Considered by many baseball historians as the greatest single performance ever in baseball history, Hack Wilson continued to thrive. Aided by a lively ball wound with special Australian wool, Wilson belted a then National League record 56 Homeruns and an all time record of 190 RBI’s – A record which still stands today.
With the bat’s label period, length, and weight, this model would have been available for Hack Wilson to use throughout the 1926-30 time span which would have included all 4 of his homeruns title season, the 1929 World Series, and his finest season ever, 1930, when he set the All Time record of 190 RBI’s. Hack Wilson was also photographically documented as using a bat with handle tape during the same relative time span.
This pristine example exhibits heavy game use, evenly distributed from the small Wilson style knob extending towards the barrel. End. The woods complete surface shows signs of grain compression, created from the swinging, handling, storage, and contact of bat to ball.
Known as a free swinger, the heavy use is found on all surfaces of the barrel, with heavy concentration above the barrel signature. In that area directly above the facsimile signature are dozens of ball marks, seam marks, and compression of the grain.
Directly below the barrel stampings are numerous deep stitch marks, and light clusters of ball marks. Hack Wilson left his final marks by adding over 24 cleat marks on various surfaces of the bat.
Aesthetically, a better Hack Wilson model bat does not exist. “Lewis “Hack” Wilson” is perfectly stamped on the barrel end where the amber color ash serves a perfect frame for his bat’s identification mark.
Documented Player Trait – Tightly Twisted Taped Handle
In addition to documented personal factory bat ordering records, this offered bat contains an 8” area of white tape tightly wrapped in 23 twists. Imagery analysis confirms that Hack Wilson did indeed tape his bats in a very similar manner in the years of 1926-30 while playing for the Chicago Cubs. The attached images are close-ups which document the practice.
Our consignor received this bat from his grandmother, who was a lifelong Chicago resident who lived in the same house dating back to the 1920s. Although the provenance trail ends there, we can guarantee this bat has been in Chicago since the 1920s.
Final Grade (MEARS A9). A base grade of 5 points was assigned for bat matching Hack Wilson’s personal bat records. 3 points were assigned for bat having heavy game use. 2 points were assigned for player attributes, including documented Hack Wilson tape pattern. Minus 1 point was assigned for light deadwood on reverse (Very, very small amount of grain loss was the need for the deduction) and discoloration near the handle.
Based on its Chicago origin, inclusion in H&B factory records, heavy game use, and documented Hack Wilson handle tape pattern, this bat can certainly be dated to the 1926-30 era.
LOA Troy R. Kinunen / MEARS Auctions
View this item in our August auction at the following link: http://www.mearsonlineauctions.com/lotdetail.aspx?lotid=50282