MEARS Auction #21, Ends December 30th, 2010- 9:00 CST, w/15-Minute Rule
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 12/31/2010

In an article by Dave Grob, he found some informative background history on this consignment. He writes:

Regarding the Loyal Giants Rooters presentation bat dated to 14 April 1929. Historic artifacts such as this harkens us back to a time when the bond between the public and sporting idols of the day was much more personal. Cities took pride and reveled in the celebrity of “their boys.” Teams, players, and citizenry were far less transient and a bat such as this aptly captures the sentiments of the day.

The bat is a Spalding and is stamped on the barrel:

Loyal Giants Rooters Dinner


John J. McGraw and the 1929 Giants

In doing some research, it can be seen that the dinner was advertised in the Ironwood, Michigan Daily Globe on March 27th 1929 that the New York Loyal Giants rooters will give dinner to John J. McGraw April 14 to express appreciation of the fact that ho has kept his team in the national league races for 28 years. This was, at the time, certainly a news-worthy event to have been picked up by a paper in Michigan. But just how big an event was it? According to a contemporary New York Times account, some 600 individuals attended the dinner.

If you are beginning to think that 600 individuals is not a significant number, then consider that the price of admission for the dinner, according to the April 28th 1929 edition of the Charleston Daily Mail, was $10.00 a head. To put this into perspective, in 1929:

1lb loaf of bread: 10 cents

1lb of butter: 59 cents

1lb of chicken: 42 cents

1 dozen eggs: 59 cents

Average American Weekly Earnings: $25.00

When you consider this was a time of a 6-7 day work week, the cost of this dinner was roughly the equivalent of three days wages for the average American. IRS data from 2005 shows that the same average American weekly salary was roughly $1,062. Based on a five day work week and the cost of three days worth of income, this comes out to be almost $640 a plate by today’s standards.

If you are wondering what all of this has to do with the bat in question, then you have to consider just what the people would have been paying for. It is not uncommon for those paying admission to events like this to be provided with some sort of souvenir from their night with the stars. Another possibility is that given this was a well publicized event, someone may have taken the opportunity to have these bats produced for sale to commemorate this event. I have no idea if this bat was in fact intended to be a gift for McGraw and the players or the attendees. To me the nature of the inscription indicates a focus more on the event than to any particular player or member of the team.

Gifts being to given to players by such fraternal organizations were common occurrences as indicated by the same Charleston Daily Mail article in that it mentions that in the previous year, “that last year, young Mr. Cohen (Andy Cohen) was presented with more wristwatches, traveling bags, and collar buttons than any other player, past or present.” By comparison, a bat engraved as such appears more likely to have been not intended for a player or coach, but rather an event attendee. If this is correct, it does not mean that this is not an important artifact in its own right. Consider that if 600 persons were in attendance and this bat was intended to be a “take away,” then we know something about the original number of issue. Also consider that as a bat, many may have fallen prey to the sandlots over the years, further limiting the number of surviving examples.

In addition, the April 16th 1929 edition of the Charleston Daily Mail, which is the earliest reference I have found of the Loyal Giant Rooters, mentions that “The newly organized Loyal Giant Rooters will fete Mr. John Joseph McGraw upon his arrival from the training tour. This may or may not he evidence of a return of some of the old-fashioned partisanship and enthusiasm for the National Pastime.” What this indicates is that this may be one of the earliest bits of memorabilia associated with this organization.

Although the Giants finished the 1929 season in 3rd place with a record of 84-67, there were a number of interesting events associated with the team that year:

May 8th 1929: Carl Hubbell throws his first No-Hitter. The first by a lefthander since Hub Leonard in 1918.

July 5th 1929: The Giants become the first team to utilize a public address system in a major league ball park.

October 5th 1929: Mel Ott loses out on the home run title in a season ending double header against the Phillies and their slugger Chuck Klein. While Klein hit his 43rd homer to break the tie, Ott was intentionally walked five times, with the last one being with the bases loaded. Bat is in excellent condition.

1929 Spalding New York Giants Loyal Giants Rooters Presentation Bat - (MEARS Auction LOA)
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $100
Final prices include buyers premium.: $725
Number Bids:10
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