1926-34 Spalding Heinie Groh Style Hand Turned Bottle Bat


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Blank barrel Spalding Hand Turned No. 200 bat has the center label features of a professional model, but there is no player endorsement on the barrel. Normally a bat like this would lack any sort of unique features that would help with player attribution, but in this case the model/style is unique to Heinie Groh. He was the one who made the “bottle bat” style famous and both the length & weight (33″, 39.2 oz) are correct for models ordered by Groh during his playing career. The handle has no visible pine tar or other gripping substance. No tape application is present. Groh was known to employ tape from time to time, but was not consistent with its use. It is not cracked.

The bat shows significant use with several surface marks visible. A chip is missing from the front of the barrel as well as off the side of the knob. Spalding logo is present on the knob. Considering the missing wood chips, the original weight of the bat could have been as much as 42 oz.

While there are no use characteristics present that would absolutely confirm use by Groh, the style of bat in combination with the length and weight as well as the “Hand Turned” center label make professional issuance highly likely. This era of labeling is typically stated as 1926-34. Groh played 16 seasons in the majors with the Reds and Giants before splitting the 1927 season between Rochester of the IL and the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was player/manager in the minors for various teams until 1932 with Binghamton of the New York-Pennsylvania League. He then became a scout.

From what I’ve read, Spalding turned out the very first bottle bat for Groh. It’s certainly possible that he had Spalding turn out a model for him to use after his major league days were behind him. This bat could be just such an example.