Hunt Auctions, Inc. is honored to announce an unprecedented live auction to be conducted on behalf of the Hillerich & Bradsby Co. of Louisville, KY. The auction will be held at the Louisville Slugger museum live in Louisville, KY on November 6, 2004 as the cornerstone of a full slate of related events, including a full day appraisal fair and preview party. The goal of the auction is to raise funds for museum acquisitions and to share the storied history of the Hillerich & Bradsby Co. name with the collecting public and baseball fans alike. The sale will feature all manner of baseball related items from the H&B archives, such as game used baseball bats, photography, autographed materials, advertising pieces, and display items. In addition, the auction will also include numerous other prominent consignments carefully selected to round out the sale.

In 1880 John Andrew "Bud" Hillerich played amateur baseball and used to fashion his own baseball bats in his father J.Frederick Hillerich's woodworking shop. According to company legend, young Hillerich was watching Louisville's star baseball player Pete Browning play in 1884 when he broke his bat. Hillerich offered to make Browning a bat and the result was the first "Louisville Slugger" bat. Over 100 years later the company is still family owned and operated, ranking as one of the most important corporate firms in American sports history.

This momentous event will make auction history in offering some of the most significant and historic game used baseball bats ever to become available at public auction. Headlining will be a superb Ty Cobb professional model baseball bat c.1911-16 with H&B factory side writing (Est.-$100,000.00-$125,000.00). The bat is one of two known side written exemplars and is among the earliest Cobb bats to be offered for sale. Another highly prized bat, a Jim Thorpe model c.1917-20 (Est.-$75,000.00-$100,000.00), will also be an auction standout. The bat is consistent with H&B factory records dating to Thorpe's short Major League playing career and is the only known surviving example. Any offering of significant game used baseball bats would be incomplete without a Babe Ruth model. As such, the sale will include a fine Ruth hickory model bat dating to the famed "called shot" season of 1932 (Est.-$50,000.00-$75,000.00). Among the other notable Hall of Famer model game bats are a scarce Harry Hooper bat c.1910-15 whose dating period relates to three Red Sox World Series appearances (Est.-$15,000.00-$20,000.00), and a well documented Lefty Grove bat dating to the 1931 World Series ($20,000.00-$30,000.00).

In addition, the auction will also include a number of obscure player and HOF'er bats with several being one of only a few known exemplars. HOF'er Ross Youngs' game used and factory side written bat will be hammered down (Est.-$7,500.00-$10,000.00) along with Brooklyn Dodger Jake Daubert's side written bat (Est.-$2,500.00-$3,500.00). Many other obscure player bats will be presented at the auction including Earl Averill, Gabby Hartnett, "Laughing" Larry Doyle, and Edd Roush whose pre-sale estimates range from $500.00-$10,000.00 each. One rarity is a Chicago Cub Hack Wilson bat, which is quite desirable due to the fact that his bats seldom become available for public sale (Est.-$4,000.00-$6,000.00).

Modern era sluggers will also be very well represented in the auction with several significant event game bats. Most notable is a Hank Aaron professional model bat used to hit his 740th home run off of Nolan Ryan in 1975 (Est.-$15,000.00-$20,000.00). The bat has been signed by both players and is believed to be the highest numeral home run bat in private hands. A bat used by Willie Mays to hit his 2,999th hit (also his 620th home run) will also make its way across the block (Est.-$5,000.00-$7,500.00). Other significant player game bats will include Mickey Mantle (Est.-$15,000.00-$20,000.00), Pete Rose (Est.-$2,000.00-$2,500.00), Sam Rice (Est.-$7,500.00-$10,000.00), Pee Wee Reese (Est.-$5,000.00-$7,500.00), Lloyd Waner (Est.-$3,000.00-$4,000.00), Cal Ripken Jr. (Est.-$3,000.00-$4,000.00), and Ted Williams (Est.-$10,000.00-$15,000.00).

Baseball bat related artifacts and type bats will also be found within the auction, with several unique pieces originating directly from the H&B archives. Three baseball bat store display racks will be offered including a wooden "A" frame bat rack c.1920's (Est.-$7,500.00-$10,000.00), a metal "A" frame bat rack c.1930-40's (Est.-$3,000.00-$4,000.00), and a rare die cut cardboard display rack from the 1950's with its original shipping box and press kit (Est.-$4,000.00-$5,000.00). Decal decorated baseball bats and related accessories will also be presented, including two original folio display sheets from the H&B archives used to market the decals to retailers c.1910-15. Joe Jackson and Ty Cobb, among others, are featured on the two decal sheets (Est.-$2,000.00-$3,000.00 each). Several full size and miniature decal baseball bats will also be offered including Joe Jackson and Honus Wagner with estimates ranging from $300.00-$3,000.00 each.

Vintage baseball autographed materials are always a hallmark of Hunt Auctions, Inc. sales, the Louisville event will be no exception. A July 9, 1918 Babe Ruth handwritten letter signed an astounding six times by Ruth and sent to Frank Bradsby at H&B will headline this grouping (Est.-$30,000.00-$40,000.00). Nearly pristine examples of a Babe Ruth single signed baseball (Est.-$30,000.00-$40,000.00) and a Babe Ruth/Lou Gehrig signed baseball (Est.-$25,000.00-$35,000.00) will also be sold. Other single signed baseballs will include Lou Gehrig (Est.-$5,000.00-$7,500.00), Ty Cobb (Est.-$750.00-$1,250.00), Mickey Mantle (Est.-$400.00-$500.00), and an important 1909 World Series ball signed by HOF'er Fred Clarke (Est.-$5,000.00-$7,500.00). Signed photographs of various HOF'ers will be available in the auction including Honus Wagner (Est.-$600.00-$800.00), Ty Cobb (Est.-$750.00-$1,250.00), Babe Ruth (Est.-$2,500.00-$3,500.00), and Lou Gehrig (Est.-$6,000.00-$8,000.00). Various other autographed pieces will include team signed baseballs, paper items, photography, and artwork.

Hunt Auctions, Inc. and the Hillerich & Bradsby Co. are also pleased to announce the participation of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, MO, which will be offering a group of game-used Negro League "throwback" style jerseys. The shirts were donated to the museum by the Kansas City Royals and include all manners of team styles including the Kansas City Monarchs and the St. Louis Stars. Players include Albert Pujols, Mike Piazza, and Jim Edmonds among others. The proceeds of the sale of the jerseys will go to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. In addition, a selection of vintage Negro League related pieces from various consignors will be featured, such as Roy Campanella's 1941 East vs. West All-Star game MVP trophy (Est.-$7,500.00-$12,500.00) and a very rare 1949 Cleveland Indians Satchel Paige home jersey (Est.-$40,000.00-$50,000.00). As one of only a handful of documented Paige game worn shirts, the jersey remains in remarkable all-original condition.

Numerous other categories with significant pieces will be sold during the one day museum auction with a few notables to include: 1880's baseball decorated folk art children's sled (Est.-$2,000.00-$3,000.00), Baseball porcelain German bisque figurine c.1880's (Est.-$2,500.00-$3,500.00), Cy Young tobacco tin c.1905-10 (Est.-$4,000.00-$6,000.00), Christy Mathewson Tuxedo tobacco advertising sign c.1910 (Est.-$2,750.00-$3,500.00), 1932 World Series pennant w/ticket stub (Est.-$1,250.00-$1,500.00), 1962 Houston Astros road uniform (Est.-$2,000.00-$3,000.00), 1939 Baseball Centennial flag that flew over Yankee Stadium (Est.-$6,000.00-$8,000.00), Babe Ruth (Est.-$1,000.00-$1,500.00) and Lou Gehrig (Est.-$750.00-$1,250.00) store model gloves, and 1923 New York Yankees World Series pocket watch (Est.-$7,500.00-$10,000.00).

As the catalogue went to press, items were still being scrutinized and selected from the H&B archives to be included as late additions. Hunt Auctions, Inc. is also planning to accept qualifying pieces into the auction from the appraisal fair being held at the Louisville Slugger Museum the week of the auction. As such, bidders are advised to check for further details at as significant items are expected to be added into the auction and posted in the online catalogue.

The Louisville Slugger Museum auction week schedule of events will be as follows:

-Auction Previews: Wednesday November 3, 2004 9:00am-5:00pm
  Thursday November, 4 2004 9:00am-5:00pm
  Friday November 5, 2004 9:00am-5:00pm
  Saturday November 6, 2004 8:00am-10:00am
-Appraisal Fair: To be conducted by David Bushing of SCD Authentic and David Hunt of Hunt Auctions, Inc.
  Session #1: Thursday November 4, 2004 10:00am-1:00pm
  Session #2: Thursday November 4, 2004 3:00pm-7:00pm
-Preview Party: By invitation or pre-reservation only.
Friday November 5, 2004 6:30pm-9:00pm
-Auction: Saturday November 6, 2004 10:00am

For all auction inquiries, hotel information, or catalogue orders, please call Hunt Auctions, Inc. at 610-524-0822 or visit