MEARS Auction #42, Ends September 29th, 2012, 9:00 CST
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 9/30/2012
“I was told I would never make it because I'm too short. Well, I'm still too short. It doesn't matter what your height is, it's what's in your heart.” … Kirby Puckett

Of the superstars of the 1980-90’s, nobody had more heart than Kirby Puckett. When his shortened career was over, Kirby Puckett had won two World Championships (1987 & 1991), 6 Gold Gloves, and was elected by his adoring fans to 10 consecutive All Star games. Offered for the MEARS September Auction is a quality bat that attempts to mirror the high caliber baseball achievements of the man.

For this lot is presented one of the finest Kirby Puckett game used bats extant. Iron clad documentation, heavy game use, and personal traits are all included and aid in setting this example far apart from the pack.

Used during the 1993 season, this P116 model was specifically requested by Puckett at its 34 ½” length and 31 ounces. The P116 model can best described as having a smaller sized knob, thin handle, and a cupped barrel. Not much unlike other contemporary models, but having small customizations preferred by Puckett.

For advanced bat collectors that appreciate player specific signs of heavy game use and documented player traits, this bat is one of the finest known examples of a Kirby Puckett gamer.

Heavy is the strongest word our grading criterion allows us to document game use, but this examples pushes the boundaries. Starting at the knob and working up towards the cupped barrel end, the entire length of the bat is touched by use. The knob edges shows signs of handling and small amount of pine tar was transferred to the knob bottom.

Moving up, the presence of pine tar becomes notable. Starting directly at the knob and extending upwards approximately 8” is a medium coat of pine tar. Then there is a 4” skip where the pine tar was spared until it was heavily applied in a 7” area that extends to the left edge of the center brand. The application, tar, skip, tar, was a documented use characteristic of Puckett game used bats and a practice consistent with Kirby.

In the area of the center brand to the barrel end, over three dozen ball marks with deeply embedded seam marks are present. The seam marks are remarkably pronounced, and only a bat generating the utmost of power could generate such penetration to the bat’s wood. Finally, in the area directly surrounding the Powerized logo is the ghost image of a bat doughnut ring. While Puckett was waiting his for his turn at bat on the On Deck Circle, he added the batting doughnut to this specimen as he took warm up practice swings. This game use is simply stunning.

It is my opinion this bat traveled on at least two road trips with Puckett and the Twins. Over 17 bat racks marks are visible, with 3 colors present. Long streaks of black, blue, and red can clearly be seen, indicating the sliding in and out of the bat rack.

Besides the game use and pine tar, the bat boasts two very unique personal player traits exclusive to Kirby Puckett. His jersey uniform number, “34”, is placed on the knob in period, vintage green ink. The 3 has a 45 degree angle moving back towards the bottom of the three, and is partnered with an open 4. The style of the numbering is consistent with numerous authentic Puckett game used bats examined by MEARS. In the same green marker, “PUCK” is neatly written in the cupped end of the barrel end. Again, this is another personal player trait associated with Kirby Puckett, and found only on the most authentic of examples.

Accompanying is the original Letter of Authenticity printed on official Minnesota Twins stationary. Dated October 1st, 1993, the letter states this “Kirby Puckett Game Bat” was purchased at the Twins Pro Shop. The letter goes on to read, This “Puckett Game Used Bat” was actually used by the Minnesota Twins during the “1993” season. Signed by Mike Stiles, Pro Shop Manager.

Our examination confirms that the game use, bat model, and Puckett player traits are all consistent with a bat used by Kirby Puckett during the 1993 season.

Final Grade (MEARS A10): 5 base points were awarded for the bat matching Puckett’s personal ordering records, 3 points were assigned for heavy game use, 2 points were assigned for Twins team letter / documented player traits.

If we could have graded this bat a MEARS A12, we would have. With verifiable team pro shop documentation, heavy game use, and documented player traits, this is one of the finest Kirby Puckett game used bats known.

(X0371)

LOA Troy R. Kinunen / MEARS
Bidding
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $100
Final prices include buyers premium.: $1,008
Number Bids: 18
Auction closed on Sunday, September 30, 2012.
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