Babe Ruth's Bat

Babe Ruth’s Bat | A Handkerchief Salute? Seriously

Babe Ruth’s bat stands as one of the greatest, if not THE greatest, piece of collectible sports memorabilia in the world. As such, more has been documented about the Babe’s bat than could ever be covered in this simple article. We did a thorough job, however, of collecting information on size, weight, length, models and what might be considered his best at bat. The official record is at best, shaky. However, points of emphasis, along with links to the sources from which they came, are found in the following write-up on Babe Ruth’s Bat.

Babe Ruth’s Bat Table

Louisville Slugger35.75, 3640 – 54R2Ash, Hickory1914 – 1925
Louisville Slugger*34.5, 35 to 3638 – 42R2, Hack Wilson HandleAsh, Hickory1926 – 1931
Louisville Slugger351932 – 1935

*This shorty is claimed to be from the 1932 season.Babe Ruth's Bat

What Size Bat Did Babe Ruth Use?

Babe Ruth's Bat

Although incomplete, the ordering record from Louisville Slugger is where most data points originate in terms of Babe Ruth’s game used bats. Auction house data also provides some insight. From these we learn Ruth’s bat size, like nearly every player we have studied, changed throughout his career. The best we can tell, his early bats weighed upwards of 54 ounces while his end of career bats may have been as light as 38 ounces.

What Model Bat Did Babe Ruth Use?

Babe Ruth's Bat

Much like Derek Jeter, Babe Ruth only used the Louisville Slugger brand of bats during his career. Ruth switched between hickory, white hickory and ash every so often. He also changed the shape of his handle at least once. The barrel model number is most often referred to as R2 and the Slugger record often refers to different Ruth versions as his “#2” or “Small #1.”

Babe Ruth’s Best at Bat

Babe Ruth's Bat

This directly from the September 30th, 1927 New York Times

When the Babe stepped to the plate in that momentous eighth inning the score was deadlocked. Koenig was on third base, the result of a triple, one man was out and all was tense. It was the Babe’s fourth trip to the plate during the afternoon, a base on balls and two singles resulting on his other visits plateward.

The first Zachary offering was a fast one, which sailed over for a called strike. The next was high. The Babe took a vicious swing at the third pitched ball and the bat connected with a crash that was audible in all parts of the stand. The boys in the bleachers indicated the route of the record homer. It dropped about half way to the top, a fitting wallop to break the Babe’s record of 59 in 1921.

While the crowd cheered and the Yankee players roared their greetings the Babe made his triumphant, almost regal tour of the paths. He jogged around slowly, touched each bag firmly and carefully, and when he imbedded his spikes in the rubber disk to record officially Homer 60 hats were tossed into the air, papers were torn up and tossed liberally and the spirit of celebration permeated the place.

The Babe’s stroll out to his position was the signal for a handkerchief salute in which all the bleacherites, to the last man, participated. Jovial Babe entered into the carnival spirit and punctuated his kingly strides with a succession of snappy military salutes.

The only unhappy individual in the Stadium was Zachary, one of the most interested spectators of the home run flight. He tossed his glove to the ground, muttered to himself, turned to his mates for consolation and got everything but that.

Babe Ruth’s 60th Home Run Footage

Game Used Bat Ruth Bats

Babe Ruth's Bat

Babe Ruth’s bat is, to put it lightly, very collectible. The few that are confirmed to exist drive a pretty penny at auction. However, the holes in the records make Ruth bat identification a bit more of an art than a science. Collectors do their best to match up sizes and weights with the ordering record from Slugger, but even that is often unhelpful as not all bats the Babe used were recorded. Some entire years of ordering records simply don’t exist or were burned in a fire.

A few years back, an old farmhouse outside of Baltimore found 150 baseball bats. One was attributed to Ruth due to its size, name and notches. Their were 11 notches and, it is presumed, they marked the number of home runs he hit with that particular bat. $214,001 later and you could have owned that bat.

Babe Ruth’s Bat Sources

PSA Bat Facts on Babe Ruth
GoldinAuction House Data
New York Times’ Take on Ruth’s 60th