The Associated Press
The black Mizuno bat that Pete Rose used to get his final hit has been auctioned for $158,776, less than expected for the 32 ounces of baseball history.
Rose used the bat for hit No. 4,256, a single off San Francisco’s Greg Minton on Aug. 14, 1986. His final hit stands as the major league record.
Lelands.com auctioned the 34-inch, 32-ounce bat online this month. Seven bids were received.
Lelands.com president Mike Heffner expected the bat to fetch a bigger price. He thinks the tough economy and Rose’s controversies — he’s got a lifetime ban for betting on baseball — held down the price.
“I think Pete Rose memorabilia in general — you either love it or you hate it,” Heffner said in a phone interview Thursday. “There’s not a whole lot in-between. I love Pete Rose, but there are people out there who won’t touch it because of the problems he had. It does affect the prices that the items sell for.”
Rose broke Ty Cobb’s record with his 4,192nd hit on Sept. 11, 1985, when he was the Cincinnati Reds player-manager. He played for one more season, batting .219 in 52 games. He had 72 hits in 1986, including that final one off Minton.
Rose was banned from baseball in 1989 for betting on games involving the Reds. He displayed the bat used for his final hit at his restaurant in Boca Raton, Fla. It was eventually bought by Richard C. Angrist, a prominent collector of sports memorabilia. Angrist put some of his items up for auction through Lelands.com.
The Angrist collection included the bat that George Sisler used to get his record 257th hit during the 1920 season. That bat drew 31 bids and went for $152,647.
“It sold for almost as much as the Pete Rose bat, which was well beyond our expectations,” Heffner said. “It went for almost six times what we thought it would go for. Auctions are very strange. All it takes is two guys who really want that item.”
The record for an auctioned bat is $1.3 million, paid for one that Babe Ruth used to hit his first homer at Yankee Stadium.
And, for another story on another Pete Rose bat, click here.