When Ireland met Babe Ruth... Historic baseball bat could swing to $7,099



As well as having a chance to own a 1964 Aston Martin DB5 4.2 Litre Sports Saloon once driven by singer Shane Filan, star of Irish pop combo Westlife, collectors can also delve into Ireland's sporting history at Mealy's upcoming September 28 auction.

This bat was gifted to Irish
hurling team manager Frank
McGrath in 1926, by none other
than "Babe" Ruth

And no Irish sports auction would be complete without hurling memorabilia. Ireland's national sport dates back at least 3,000 years, in which players use a wooden stick, called a hurler, to hit a small ball, called a sliotar, between the opponents' goalposts.

One of the star lots in Mealy's sale is from an occasion when the separate worlds of hurling and US baseball came face-to-face in 1926.

That year, Frank McGrath, Manager of Tipperary Time, brought the first ever Inter-County Team from Ireland to the US under the banner of the Gaelic Athletic Association.

A civic reception was held in New York at the Astor Hotel on May 22, hosted by the then-Mayor Jimmy Walker ('Beau James') whose father was from Castlecomer, County Kilkenny. Also present was the Tipperary Men's Association of New York.

The Inter-County Team's clearly wanted to pull out the stops for their guests and, during their visit, McGrath was presented with an original Spalding B12 Baseball Bat by none other than New York Yankees legend "Babe" Ruth.

The unique and early Sporting Association bat measures 35" (89cms) with a stamped handle grip. According to Mealy's lot notes, the bat has been consigned to the sale by the family of Mr McGrath, so its provenance is impeccable.

Babe Ruth, the best hitter of his generation, has racked-up countless successes in the collectibles markets since his death in 1948.

Notable sales over the last decade include the auctioning of Ruth's "most important" bat, the Hillerich & Bradsby bat which he acquired in 1918. It became the prototype bat on which all the future Babe Ruth bats were based.

It brought $537,750 in 2009. But it isn't the most valuable Babe Ruth bat to have auctioned. That would be the one he used to launch the first home run at Yankee Stadium on Opening Day, 1923, which sold for a staggering $1.2m in December, 2004.

Babe Ruth's collectibles are among the most sought-after on the markets, like this incredibly rare signed photograph sold by Paul Fraser Collectibles for £7,500 ($12,375)


Given the immense draw and value of Babe Ruth's collectibles on the markets, and the passion which surrounds the fast and frenetic sport of hurling, it's no surprise that this bat will appear in Mealy's County Kilkenny sale with a significant pre-sale estimate: €4,000-5,000 ($7,098.55).

With online bidding also available and could attract interest from both sides of the pond. Watch this space for more news on the auction.


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