A bat used by Baseball Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente will soon be up for auction, and experts believe buyers are going to knock bids out of the ballpark. The bat, which will go on the auction block on February 24, 2024, at Heritage Auctions in Dallas, is expected to bring in approximately $250,000.
The bat was used by Clemente during games in 1971, his penultimate season with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates are the only team he played for during his 18-year career. During his career, the Puerto Rican ballplayer was an All-Star for 13 seasons and won the National League MVP in 1966. He led the Pirates to two World Series titles and was named World Series MVP in 1971.
According to the Heritage Auctions website, “the bat is instantly recognizable as a Clemente, sporting his trademark knobless handle and Ruthian dimensions.” Heritage Auctions describes the bat as, “one of the most ironclad Clemente gamers ever presented at auction.”
The bat, which comes with a letter of authenticity, was a gift to Carey Diab, a well-known baseball memorabilia collector in Montreal. There is an inscription on the barrel of the bat that reads: “To my friend Carey, Best Wishes Always, Roberto Clemente.”
The description from Heritage Auctions reads, “Extraordinary Hillerich & Bradsby signature model U1 finds the tragic Hall of Famer near the end of his career and life, an era that saw him revisit the pinnacle of the baseball world with victory in the 1971 World Series and enter the 3,000 Hit Club with his final base knock in regular season competition.”
Clemente tragically died in a plane crash in Puerto Rico on December 31, 1972, during a trip to Nicaragua to deliver supplies after an earthquake hit the country. He was 38.
Roberto Clemente Day is celebrated every year in September.