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A baseball bat once swung by Brooklyn Dodgers legend Jackie Robinson during the 1949 MLB All-Star Game sold for a record $1.08 million dollars at an auction Saturday.
Jackie Robinson’s legacy lives on.
Each year on April 15, all MLB team players wear #42 (Jackie’s old number) in remembrance and in honor of Robinson, who is credited with breaking baseball’s racist color barrier which prohibited Blacks from integrating sports. No other player in the MLB is recognized with such an honor.
Per NBC Los Angeles: “We are elated to have been able to purchase the 1949 Robinson All-Star bat on behalf of our client. The direct provenance from Rachel Robinson and the added historical significance of the 1949 All-Star Game being played in Brooklyn place this example at the pinnacle of Jackie game bats,” said Hunt Auctions President David Hunt in a written statement.
“For years we have witnessed pricing increase for items related to Robinson’s iconic career and see more room for growth as his legacy is becoming, appropriately so, more significant to each generation of fans. We are thrilled to have been involved in such an important transaction for this historic artifact on behalf of our client.”
Jackie Robinson was all legend, no myth.
The 1949 All-Star Game was the only midsummer classic ever held in Brooklyn. Playing inside his home ballpark, Robinson hit a double and scored three runs for the National League with the million-dollar bat.
In 1945, Robinson played his lone season in the Negro Leagues for the Kansas City Monarchs, hitting .387 with 13 steals in 47 games.
Due to MLB’s systemic racism that mirrored the U.S. at large, the 1949 All-Star Game was the first event in that African American players selected and eligible to participate.
The 1949 All-Star Game was the first of seven All-Star appearances for the Hall of Famer, and Robinson reportedly took the bat from that game home with him as a personal keepsake. That’s where it remained for the last 73 years until it went up for sale with Goldin Auctions.
“The bat has been in the Robinson family archives since the day it was first used by Jackie and I guarantee that is 100% authentic,” said Jackie’s widow Rachel Robinson in a letter she wrote for the auction.
According to Goldin Auctions, the bat sold was a Hillerich & Bradsby brand S100 model. It was one of two bats made for Robinson to use in the 1949 All-Star Game. The auction description says “it displays light game use and is uncracked.”
The record for any Jackie Robinson memorabilia was a game-worn jersey sold by Hunt Auctions in 2020 for $4.2 million.