Pound for pound, Jackie Robinson professional model bats are the most valuable pieces of wood from the era in which he played (1947-1956). There are some exceptions, like special bats used by the likes of Mickey Mantle or Ted Williams, but Robinson bats – on average – sell for the most. In fact, extremely high-end Robinson examples, ones that exhibit excellent characteristics and/or have ironclad provenance, have fetched well in excess of $100,000 on a consistent basis … a price point reserved for an elite group of lumber. In 2013 and 2014, four different Robinson bats sold for more than $150,000 each at auction.
Robinson signed an endorsement contract with H&B in 1946, prior to making his unforgettable debut, so all of the bats made for him at the Major League level featured his facsimile signature. According to factory records, Robinson used a fairly hefty piece of lumber. Many of his bats are in the 34-36 ounce range, and the majority of his gamers were made with a thick handle and smaller knob. You will occasionally see Robinson bats with his uniform number "42" marked on the knob, but most known gamers do not possess this trait. The bats that do feature his number are almost always found with a smaller, painted "42" in black.
This use of paint was a somewhat common practice in the Dodger organization during that period. Most Brooklyn Dodger game bats, like those made for Roy Campanella and Pee Wee Reese, do not possess numbers on the knob, but when they do, the numbers are often found in black paint. This kind of knob marking is evident in numerous vintage images capturing Dodger players holding their bats with the knob directly facing the camera. Finally, Robinson was not known for using heavy amounts of pine tar or modifying his bats with tape or scoring/grooving.
Jack Roosevelt Robinson (January 31, 1919 - October 24, 1972) will forever be remembered for breaking the color barrier as the first black player to play in Major League Baseball since the 1880s. Brooklyn Dodgers President and General Manager Branch Rickey told Robinson he was looking for a Negro player… "with guts enough to not fight back" when facing racial discrimination. Robinson endured unthinkable abuse from fans and occasionally players, but carried himself with dignity and poise as he helped the organization to six National League pennants and the 1955 World Series championship. In 1947, Jackie Robinson won the Major League Baseball Rookie of the Year Award and in 1949, took home the National League’s Most Valuable Player award. Jackie Robinson played second base, primarily, for the Brooklyn Dodgers (1947-1956) and finished his career with 1,518 hits, 137 home runs, 734 RBI and a .311 batting average. In 1997, Robinson’s number "42" was retired by all Major League Baseball teams. Jack Roosevelt Robinson was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.
Approximate Value: $120000