Mike ‘King’ Kelly bat smashes estimate

A Mike “King” Kelly used bat has sold for $112,500.

The 1894 piece led Christie’s Golden Age of Baseball sale on August 14-23, smashing its $80,000 estimate.

Kelly, also known as “$10,000 Kelly”, was baseball’s first superstar player.

Mike King bat

Mike Kelly used this bat in his final season 

He played for a number of early teams, including the Cincinnati Reds and the Chicago White Stockings, and came up with several plays that are still used today.

Over the course of his career he maintained a respectable batting average of .308.

Interestingly enough, he’s also believed to be the first public figure to give out his autograph – kick-starting a craze and later an entire industry.

There was a book, a movie and even a song – Slide, Kelly, Slide.

Kelly succumbed to pneumonia on a trip from New York to Boston the same year he signed the bat.  

On the barrel of the bat is an inscription that reads: “This ash used bat by MJ Kelly while on Allentown of the State League in 1894 before his death”.

A diary kept by Grace Warstler, wife of infielder Rabbit Warstler, on an American All-Stars tour of Japan in 1934 made $25,000 – almost 10 times its valuation of $3,000.  

It includes a rare account of the tour, as well as autographs from all the players – including Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth.

Baseball has been the national game in Japan since the 1870s.

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