What more can be written about Jackie Robinson? Nothing. The answer is nothing. We won’t pretend to add something. Instead, we simply compile all the data we found on the bats Jackie Robinson used in his career. We gather this data mostly from auction houses and detailed write ups that tend to accompany his very famous and coveted bats. We have researched the game usage of several serious stars’ bats and could argue, when it comes to equipment, there is none more famous than Jackie Robinson’s bat.
|Jackie Robinson’s Bat|
|Louisville Slugger||34.5, 35||34 – 36||Ash||S100, R115, C117L||1947 – 1956|
Jackie Robinson Bat Sizes: Weight and Length
Jackie’s bats consistently weighed between 34 and 36 ounces with most in the 34 range. As one specific example, a 1955 bat given to Walter Blount weighed 34.1 ounces. (That bat, by the way, has an incredible story).
34.5 and 35 inches were Jackie’s preferred lengths—at least by the end of his career. Compared to the weight, this would give the bats between a -1 and 0 drop. The smaller knob and no cup on the end cap push the swing weight toward the end cap, too. On average, Jackie Robinson’s bat should be considered a heavy swinging drop 1 in a 35 inch bat from Slugger.
What Bat Did Jackie Robinson Use?
From what the internet has gathered, Jackie Robinson used one brand of bat his entire career: Louisville Slugger. During this era, we admit, there weren’t many options. The Rawlings Adirondack would have been Jackie’s only other real option and we couldn’t find a single instance where a Robinson game used bat was such. Our research indicates Jackie Robinson’s Bat should be considered an ash S100, R115 or C117L from Louisville Slugger.
Jackie Robinson’s First Base Hit
The first hit of Jackie Robinson’s career is the stuff movies are made of. Literally. During his second game in Major League Baseball on April 17th 1947, Jackie would get his first hit. In the 1st he flew out to center, the 2nd he walked and then, in the third, he hit a double play. In the bottom of the 5th, possibly frustrated he had yet to record a hit, Robinson would get the first hit of his MLB career by laying down a bunt to the third baseman and beating the throw.
Jackie would go on to win Rookie of the Year with a near .300 batting average and change the game as we know it. His steals home would become the stuff of legends. But that innocuous bunt in the bottom of the 5th against the Braves on April 17th, was the first time a black man was credited with a hit in Major League Baseball.
Of note, the second hit of his career? A home run in the bottom of the 5th during his 3rd MLB game.
Jackie Robinson Game Used Bats
The above Jackie Robinson game used bat is from his historic rookie season of 1947. What is often lost in the appropriate fan fare of his color barrier breaking is that he also won Rookie of the Year in 1947. His inaugural season also landed him 5th in the MVP voting. With this Louisville Slugger bat, he hit for a .297 average and a .810 OPS. He hit 12 home runs, logged 48 RBIs and finished with 29 Stolen Bases.
That year he would also lead the league in sac bunts and flies by logging 28. In the modern era, only a couple, including Ozzie Smith, would approach those types of sacrifice numbers. Even Jackie would only post more than 20 one other time in his career. After coach confirmed he could hit the idea of bunting to move runners around by bunting from the 2 spot was no longer tolerable.
The heritage auction house sold this bat for $478,000. It is, to date, the only existing bat attributed to Jackie Robinson’s rookie season, and may be the most valuable piece of modern day game used equipment in any sport.
Jackie Robinson’s Bat Sources
MLB Game Used Bats Instagram Account: Some photos and the Heritage auction data came from here.
PSA Bat Facts of Jackie Robinson: A wealth of information in terms of bat pictures and models.
GoldinAuctions Robinson’s 1956 Bats: Auction house data for length and weights
Sports Collector Daily: More auction house data for size and lengths.
Baseball Reference: Jackie Robinson’s stat lines and game lines.