It’s times like these that I wish I was I was not with MEARS. Like you, I am a collector and I am always on the look out for things I would love to have. This auction preview includes those things I would like to have and why. Please know upfront I have no financial interest in any of these lots nor is my compensation from MEARS affected in any way if these items sell or not. As a reminder, you don’t have to worry about me (or anyone lese at MEARS) bidding on them.
#1. 1960-1964 Roger Maris H&B O16 Professional Model Bat (A7, 34” Team Index Offering). Maris ordered the O16 with great frequency from 1956 through early 1961. Sad to say his personal order sheet does not show those orders at 34”. The dozens of Yankee Team orders from this time frame provide very little information other than annotations such as “see index.” For a fraction of what a Maris bat that would be consistent with his personal order sheet, this would make for an incredible display piece or part of a 1961 Yankees team set. I already have a very nice 1950-1960 Mantle K55 Index bat and this would be a great fit. At $5000-$7000 for the extra inch of wood, I’m a buyer for this bat.
#2 1912-1919 Heine Groh Spalding Professional Model Bat (A7). I have a very nice H&B Groh bottle bat, but unless you have looked at this is some detail, you might not appreciate how much more valuable the early Spalding products are. Why, because they appear to have been the first bottle bats made for Groh. Pages 216-217 for “Baseball Century: The First 100 Years of the National League” have this to offer on the subject:
“ Giants manager John McGraw urged Groh to go to a larger barrel to improve place hitting. The third baseman was only 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighed 160 pounds, and his hands were too small to handle the big-barreled bats. At Spalding’s in New York, he built up the barrel of a standard bat and whittled its handle until the finished product looked like a milk bottle. … He used that bat from 1912 on…”
What I also like about this bat, is the single stamping of simply “GROH” and not HEINE GROH. This leads me to believe that it is also an early offering that would have predated the arrival of Heine’s brother Lew to the major leagues in 1919. With only one GROH in the mix, there would have been very little need to differentiate the owner by a first initial. The other Groh Spalding product evaluated by MEARS (Cert #306095) features the name HEINE GROH stamped on the barrel. Although that one graded out as an A8, my preference would be for this one at an A7 based on the naming convention.
#3 1969 Dick Drago Kansas City Royals Road Jersey. I have always loved this style worn in 1969-1970. The fact that it is an inaugural offering is a big plus. I have 1969 jerseys of the Expos and Padres, but my Royals flannels (home & road) are from 1971. The jersey is missing the 1969 patch, but it was removed with great care and the fabric in the patch area is not cut or torn. Original 1969 patches are affordable and fairly easy to find.
#4 1975 Jim Willoughby Boston Red Sox Road Jersey. First of all, MEARS makes no claim about it being from the 1975 World Series. Why interest in Jim Willoughby? First of all it’s a great style and with no numbers on the front, the jersey could display as well as any Yaz or Fisk offering for a fraction of the price. Also, people seem to remember two events from the 1975 series. Fisk’s walk off home run in Game 6 and the “alleged interference” at the plate with Ed Armbrister. Who threw the pitch that Armbrister so expertly bunted, Jim Willoughby. Would make a great display with an Armbrister bat.
#5 1940s Notre Dame Throw Pillow. With Tom Kelly coming in from my alma matter, the University of Cincinnati, the Irish are headed back for a Return to Glory. I have been a huge Norte Dame fan since I was kid. I could see something like this becoming a talisman that I could look to on a Saturday afternoon as I scream at the television set. Wonderful eye appeal and it great condition.
The February auction is set to go live on Friday the 19th. As with all MEARS auctions, there are NO Hidden Reserves, NO Shill or In House Bidding, and an Industry low 15% buyers premium. For those interested in bidding, but who have not yet registered, you can do so by going to www.mearsonlineauctions.com or by clicking on the MEARS Auctions icon on the homepage.
As always, collect what you enjoy and enjoy what you collect.
MEARS Auth, LLC
For questions or comments on this article, please feel free to drop me a line at DaveGrob1@aol.com.
POST SCRIPT If you happen to win any of these items, please drop me a line if you’re up for some swapping…