MEARS Auction #45, Ends December 29th, 2012, 9:00 CST
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 12/30/2012

When asked about his beloved teammate Johnny Evers, Frank Chance took no time replying, “I doubt if any second baseman has had so great an influence on the work of a club as a whole or has been so important a factor in its success as Evers has been with the Chicago Nationals.”

Johnny Evers was a smart, scrappy and determined second baseman and the pivot man in the famed Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance infield. His knowledge of the rules enabled him to turn the 1908 National League pennant race around, as a result of the infamous Fred Merkle play. He helped lead the Chicago Cubs to four National League pennants and two world championships. After joining Boston in 1914, Evers sparked another turnaround when the Miracle Braves rose from the cellar in July to a world championship in October.

For early Chicago Cubs historians and Pre War game used bat collectors, this lot offers the rare opportunity to bid on only the second Johnny Evers bat ever publicly offered. The other single example was a block letter, side written Louisville Slugger example which dated to the 1911-16 time span. This example is the only signature model Spalding game used Johnny Evers bat examined by MEARS.

For this auction, MEARS has carefully examined the following and provide the details in the accompanying report:

1909-11 Johnny Evers Spalding Gold Medal Autograph Professional Model Game Used Bat (MEARS #312727)

Manufacturer: Spalding was a known supplier of bats, balls, and jerseys to the professional teams during the 1908-1911 era. This bat is found with the SPALDING, GOLD MEDAL center brand. The Gold Medal label was used from 1908-1911 as per the MEARS collection of dealer catalogs and the 2003 Bat Price Guide by Bushing & Philipps.

There are no known factory records for Spalding bats for the examined era, but documented side written examples, photographic evidence, and production information support their use in the big leagues.

Dating 1909-11: Evers first appears as an endorsee in the catalog during 1909, thus the establishment of the beginning dating range.

The following additional factors have been taken into consideration during the evaluation of this bat:

Spalding literature from the period indicates availability of the Evers model bat which establishes the working relationship between Evers and the Spalding Company.

All known retail model Spalding bats from this period featured logo stamping on the knob end. The presented example features lathe marks indicative of hand rasping of the knob and barrel end, a procedure intended to reach a player's intended bat weight (37.9 ounces in this case). This hand turned example should be considered as a professional model.

The high quality of the ash utilized in the construction of the bat is far more typical of professional than retail quality.

Evers had no endorsement contract with H&B. Bats that have entered the hobby were block letter, indicating Evers honored his exclusive contract with the Spalding Company.

Examination of the surviving Evers file card reads: “His Old E12 caliper only”. Comparison of this bat to the known side written H&B reveals they appear identical in model. Since the examined side written H&B was dated 1911-16, it can be assumed H&B modeled their block letter (no contract) bat after the Spalding signature version.

Length 32”: Known surviving H&B records help support the 32” length of this bat as being within the range requested by Johnny Evers. According to his H&B file card, it reads,

“Diagram lengths: His old Johnny Evers, 32.5”, squared slightly round end.” This bat is quite consistent with the documented length of the information archived at Louisville Slugger.

Additionally, the 1911-16 Johnny Evers H&B Louisville Slugger side written bat measured 32.5”. This verifies that Evers used bats at the 32.5” length.

Weight 37.9 ounces: Currently weighing 37.9 ounces, this bat is consistent with the 1911-16 H&B example which weighed 39 ounces at the time of evaluation. This established the current weight for this bat falls within an acceptable range of weight for another documented example.

Model: This bat exhibits the exact style round end as referenced on Ever’s H&B player file card.

Game use is evaluated as heavy. Deep stitch marks have penetrated the grain on various areas of the bats surface. The handle remains uncracked.

Final Grade MEARS A8: Base grade of 5 points was assigned for bat being consistent with respect to length, weight, and model for known Johnny Evers bats. 3 points were assigned for bat having heavy game use. LOA Troy R. Kinunen / MEARS (A0480)
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $1,000
Final prices include buyers premium.: $6,691
Number Bids: 15
Auction closed on Sunday, December 30, 2012.
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