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Gehrig bat from last 2 homers in spring 1939 up for auction
By VIN A. CHERWOO
NEW YORK (AP) The bat Lou Gehrig used to hit his last two home runs, in an exhibition game in 1939, is being auctioned off again.
Once owned by actor Kurt Russell's family, the bat is part of a Yankees Legends offering by Heritage Auctions. The entire collection is from one owner and has mostly of Yankees-related memorabilia, including a bat used by Roger Maris in the 1961 season when he hit a then-record 61 homer. There's also a glove used by Mickey Mantle in 1965 and signed baseballs from various Yankees championship teams.
The online auction opened Tuesday and closes on Dec. 10 at 11 p.m. EST. The collection, which can be viewed on Heritage's website , also includes a Babe Ruth bat from his rookie season with the Boston Red Sox in 1915, a bat used by Ted Williams in the All-Star game in 1960, a bat used by Jackie Robinson during his 1949 National League MVP season and a ball signed by .400 hitters Ty Cobb, Rogers Hornsby, Ted Williams, George Sisler and Bill Terry.
"There's a lot of cool pieces in here starting with that rookie Ruth bat," Chris Ivy, Heritage's director of sports auctions, told The Associated Press in a phone interview. "Ruth coming from Boston to the Yankees in 1920 is really what changed their fortunes. In 1923 they built the new stadium and started winning championships to become the most successful franchise."
Ivy said all the autographed items have been vetted by multiple authentication services.
Gehrig retired after appearing in only eight games in 1939 while suffering from ALS. He had no homers in 28 at bats that year. The slugger gave the bat he used for the homers in the exhibition game to Bing Russell, Kurt Russell's father, who was a batboy with the Yankees. It stayed in the family until Jill Franco, Kurt Russell's sister and the mother of former major leaguer Matt Franco, sold it in an auction in Nov. 2011 for $403,664.
There is also a report on Derek Jeter from April 1992 when Yankees scout Dick Groch saw him play in a high school game in Kalamazoo, Michigan. In his summation, Groch said about the Jeter: "A Yankee! A five tool player. Will be a ML Star! +5!!"
"That's a phenomenal piece. That's as important to the Yankees' last 25 years, I guess, as the sale document of Ruth from the Red Sox to the Yankees was in 1920," Ivy said. "For every great prospect, the ones that make it to have a career like Jeter's are few and far between."
The Yankees, who have won a record 27 World Championships, selected Jeter with the sixth overall pick in the 1992 amateur draft. He went on to win Rookie of the Year honors in 1996 and helped the team win the World Series five times in his 20-year career before retiring in 2014.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball
Updated November 14, 2017