The Promise
The Promise: Joe DiMaggio’s 1951 New York Yankees Final All Star Game Used Bat

The name Joe DiMaggio evokes many powerful memories. The 56 game hit streak, Marilyn Monroe, his volatile days as an autograph guest, Mr. Coffee, and his fabled career with the New York Yankees. As a true American icon, very few people were able to actually get close to the Yankee Clipper, to actually find out his true character.

By the accounts of many, the Yankee Clipper seemed almost unapproachable. Regardless of the opinions formed, Joe DiMaggio was a man of honor, and his word was tested during the final season of his career, 1951.

Recounted by Yankee batboy Joeseph Carrieri, Joe DiMaggio made one promise to the impressionable bat boy. If he was to go to school, get good grades, and perform his job to the highest of standards, DiMaggio promised Carrieri one of his game used bats.

True to his word, after he had played his final game, the great Joe DiMaggio presented Carrieri with this very bat. DiMaggio could have given the batboy any bat, but in another moment of exuberated class, Joe D presented the batboy with his very special 1951 All Star Game bat, issued during his final mid season classic. Although DiMaggio did not play in the game, it was used by DiMaggio during the final half of the 1951 season.

DiMaggio kept his promise.

I continue to be excited by the cool items sent to our office for evaluation. It is always an honor to handle such personal items of the game’s greatest players. This bat was sent for our examination, here are our findings:

By examining this bat, we can use this as a lesson on evaluation of factory records, verification of provenance, and the measuring of game use, especially in the case of an event issued bat.

One of the crucial elements of evaluating a game used bat is the verification of correct player length.

Length 36”: Per Joe DiMaggio’s personal record, this bat is recorded as being ordered by DiMaggio throughout his career, therefore the length is correct.

Player’s were very particular about bat’s weight, and the weight must be documented via factory records.

Weight 32.25 ounces: The bat currently weighs 32.25 ounces, but was manufactured at 34 ounces. This bat is consistent with H&B factory record and verified as correct for Joe DiMaggio.

Player model’s varied, and DiMaggio preferred the D29 model early in his career, (without knob), and the D29L model later in career (large knob).

Model D29L: Although the actual listing for the 1951 All Star game is not included in DiMaggio’s personal records, the D29L model measuring 36”, weighing 34 ounces was recorded on June 5th, 1951. Knobs are important in telling the story of personal player traits. Typically, players added their uniform numbers to the knob’s of their bats, and in some rare instances, their initials. The practice of adding numbers to knobs became a more universally accepted practice during the late 1950s, early 1960s. Joe DiMaggio was not known for adding his number to the knob of his bats. But, in this case, the initials present were very crucial in supplying the chain of ownership.

Knob markings: JC (Joe Carrieri) has been carefully painted on the knob. A personal letter of provenance from Carrieri accompanied this bat. Since the bat was gifted by DiMaggio to Joe Carrieri and the story was documented, the initials add to the provenance of the piece. In many instances initials of someone other than the players name branded on the bat hurt the value and grade of the bat, not in this instance.

Game use is a little trickier when evaluating event bats, i.e. All Star or World Series. The All Star game takes place in one day, and World Series can last only 4. Therefore, the opportunity to add game use to the bat’s surface is limited. Special consideration must be taken into account when evaluating event bats.

Game Use: Bat exhibits heavy event game use. In the area from the centerbrand to the barrel end, the bat shows signs of game use. In the area directly above the centerbrand are areas of compressed grain, caused from repeated contact of bat to ball. The handle shows a 4” crack, with minor separation. Due to the heavy amount of game use, the bat was most likely used for several games/weeks after the All Star game.

Provenance is very desirable to game used bat collectors. Most bats that have entered the hobby due so without the history of the item being recorded. Player’s gave stuff away, and fans just did not document the history of their accumulation of these items. This bat Provenance: Bat originates from the collection of Joeseph R. Carrieri, Yankee batboy. Bat was also documented in the book, “Joe DiMaggio, The Promise”, by Carrieri. A signed letter accompanies this bat. The initials, JC, found the knob, also serve as verification of the provenance.

After the evaluation of the above factors, the final grade is assigned.

Final Grade: 5 points for bat matching factory records, 3 points for heavy/All Star game use/extended season use, 2 points for provenance/All Star issuance, minus ½ barrel discoloration/slight handle crack.

In conclusion, this bat promises to be a great addition to any advanced bat collection as it has all of the ingredients of a great bat, special event markings, heavy game use, provenance, and aesthetics.

Troy Kinunen
By Troy Kinunen