MEARS Auction #138, Ends Saturday, June 6th, 2020, 10:00 PM CST W/30-Minute Rule In Effect
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 6/6/2020


Offered for this lot is a very rare bat and features a player of great historic baseball significance, Christy Mathewson. Born in 1880 in Factoryville, PA, Christy Mathewson, nicknamed “Big Six”, played 17 seasons with the New York Giants. He stood 6 feet 1 inch tall and weighed 195 pounds. He was among the most dominant pitchers in baseball history, and ranks in the all-time top 10 in several key pitching categories, including wins, shutouts, and ERA. In 1936, Mathewson was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame as one of its first five members. This is only the second known example of this bat known, with the other on display. The exact same signature model bat is exhibited at Mathewson’s alma mater, Bucknell University.

https://www.phigamarchives.org/islandora/object/phigam:6914

It is displayed next to his game worn Giants cap. The bat is not noted as being game used by Mathewson and emails to the University by MEARS Auctions requesting clarification went unanswered. About the manufacturer:

James N. Zimmerman of Owosso, Michigan, in the spring of 1896, took over the property. His products were axe handles, neck yokes, dumbbells, Indian clubs, Billy clubs, whiffle trees and baseball bats. The plant furnished employment for 6 or 7 men.

It took Zimmerman over two years to form a personal acquaintanceship with baseball managers of different leagues all over the U.S.

After presenting them with bats of his very best brand "Zimmerman's League", and after many different players had experimented with them, this branch of his business was a moneymaker to its far-sighted owner. Orders at once flowed in and crack players sent models to the factory to be duplicated.

Zimmerman Manufacturing produced wood handles for rakes, shovels and other various home and farm hand implements. However, Mr. Zimmerman must have had a great interest in sports, as he began to produce baseball bats, souvenir bats, tennis rackets and pole vaults. The Detroit Tigers was one of their largest customers.

There are no factory records to support this being a professional model, but there are several features which would support this bat as being game used by Mathewson.

The bat measures 35 ½” and weights 34.6 ounces. The bat is very consistent with a Christy Mathewson bat which resides in the Baseball Hall of Fame which weights 36.5 ounces. The wood is of a professional grade. The length, weight, and wood grade is consistent with what could be used by Mathewson during his career.

On the barrel, “Christy Mathewson”, is branded into the barrel. The facsimile signature is consistent with his hand signed autograph, meaning he provide his signature for the dye to be produced to make this bat. The process of supplying a signature to a bat company was also used by Louisville Slugger, and may support this as being a professional model, but again, there is no documentation to support that theory.

During his playing career, Mathewson was the most dominant pitcher of the era. If Zimmerman was creating store model bats to promote his company, it is not likely he would have picked a spokesperson that was known for his pitching skills, not his batting prowess. The fact this is only the 2nd bat known, Zimmerman players endorsed bats are not readily seen. In the process of researching this bat, MEARS found several Zimmerman non player endorsed bats that have entered the hobby, but his was the only player endorsed model we found.

Based on these facts, MEARS feels there is a high probability that this bat was a professional model bat manufactured to be used by Mathewson. The MEARS LOA will state:

1910 era Christy Mathewson Signature Model Zimmerman Professional Model Bat with issuance/use attributed to Mathewson (MEARS LOA).
Bidding
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $750
Final prices include buyers premium.: $8,257
Number Bids: 20
Auction closed on Sunday, June 7, 2020.
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