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Thursday, October 17, 2019

Babe Ruth’s bat used for 500th homer hits auction block

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The bat used by Babe Ruth to slug his 500th career home run in 1929 is going up for auction, nearly 75 years after he gave it to a friend whose family has kept it ever since.

Ruth became the first player to reach the coveted plateau on Aug. 11, 1929, hitting a solo shot for the New York Yankees off Willis Hudlin at League Park in Cleveland.

In the mid-1940s, Ruth gave the bat to his friend Jim Rice, who was mayor of Suffern, New York. Ruth and Rice enjoyed golfing, bowling and dining together, and Ruth was a regular visitor to the Rice household, where he came to know Jim’s wife, Ethyl, and their children. Rice once beat Ruth in five straight games of bowling.

Terry Rice, an attorney in Suffern and Jim’s only son, is selling the bat. Born two years after Ruth died in 1948, Rice more closely associates Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra with the Yankees of his youth, but he remembers Ruth’s bat sat in the corner behind the television in the family’s den.

Sadly, there’s no evidence that Ruth gave away the bat because he feared Jim Rice…..


QLE Posted: October 17, 2019 at 12:26 AM | 6 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: auction, babe ruth, bat, memorabilia

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   1. eric Posted: October 17, 2019 at 09:38 AM (#5891230)
I've been looking up old-time players I'd never heard of before. This article gave me a perfect opportunity to check out Willis Hudlin both on BBR, and his SABR Bio.

Definitely not the random schmoe I was expecting. He had a real career, pitching over 2600 innings at a 102 ERA+ and compiling over 31 WAR, including having a 7.3 WAR (7.5 pWAR) season in 1929. He was mostly done as a good player by about age 30, but lingered on another few years as a back of the rotation replacement-level player.

He pitched and managed in the minors/semi-pro in the 1940's, actually became a minor-league team owner in the 1950's, briefly an MLB pitching coach, and worked as a scout for the Yankees in the 1960's/70's.

Having been born in Oklahoma before it was even a state, given up Babe Ruth's 500th HR (in a game he won), and done everything someone can do in the game, he died at age 96 in 2002. A few years after that, he had a stadium in his hometown named after him.

That was pleasant reading rather than doing work for a Thursday morning. :)
   2. Mike Webber Posted: October 17, 2019 at 01:31 PM (#5891334)
My best friend is Hudlin's Grand Nephew, so I own all of the major Willis Hudlin baseball cards. I gave a 1933 Goudey Hudlin to my friend's Dad, and he loved it. To him, it was just Uncle Willis.

   3. Mike Webber Posted: October 17, 2019 at 01:36 PM (#5891340)
I'm fortunate that Hudlin's 1935 Goudey he shares with Hall of Famer Jim Bottomley, and not Babe Ruth or I'd never had a complete collection.
   4. ajnrules Posted: October 17, 2019 at 01:48 PM (#5891348)
So far no pitcher who has at least 100 wins has lived longer than Willis Hudlin and his 96 years. Bobby Shantz is two years (and 54 days) from breaking that record.
   5. Rally Posted: October 17, 2019 at 01:50 PM (#5891349)
Wonder if I'm distantly related, there are some Rices in my family, but from the Oneida area which is not very close to Suffern.
   6. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 17, 2019 at 02:25 PM (#5891363)
I wonder how they authenticated it? You can probably get pretty confident that it's actually a Babe Ruth bat, and some level of comfort with it having been game-used. But for his 500th home run? Did they just believe what Terry Rice told them his dad told him that Babe Ruth told him way back when? And that the Babe was telling the truth in the first place?

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