Aptly dubbed “The Mechanical Man” by contemporary Lefty Gomez, Charlie Gehringer was among the game’s most durable and consistent performers, posting seven seasons of 200-plus hits. Turned during the 1917-1921 labeling period, the Hillerich & Bradsby (32.9-oz/34-3/4”) bat was employed and autographed by the Tiger Hall of Famer during his remarkable career. Among the rarest Cooperstown gamers and earliest Gehringer artifacts extant, the white ash weapon showcases a deep brown patina and “dash-dot-dash” center brand whose “125” feature dates to the referenced time frame. On the barrel, Gehringer's black ink signature has been Graded 9 by JSA. Side writing on the barrel is no longer visible. The bat shows heavy use with an H-shaped handle crack mended by a period nail. Full photo LOAs from John Taube, PSA/DNA and JSA.
Of note is the date of manufacture and Gehringer’s career. Based on the PSA/DNA research, the player use characteristics are consistent with those found on Gehringer gamers. The side writing (which is no longer visible on this bat) was a common practice during that era for (upon the bat’s demise) the request of duplicate models to be turned and shipped to a specific player. While Gehringer didn’t begin playing for the University of Michigan until 1922 and for the Detroit Tigers in 1924, it’s likely that this bat was used during his early tenure in Motown. Many accounts note that in Gehringer’s first full season (1926), Ty Cobb made him use one of his own bats. Gehringer described it as a “thin little thing” and although he preferred a heavier bat, didn’t dare make the switch. Thus, it’s very possible that Gehringer employed this lumber during the 1924 and/or 1925 seasons, albeit briefly.