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PSA launching pop reports for game-used bats

PSA's pop reports are one of the most valuable resources for sports card collectors. Now the grading and authentication company is creating a pop report for game-used bats.

One of the most valuable resources for sports card collectors is PSA’s pop reports, which document the number of graded cards in existence for any specific brand, set, player and grade.

Now Professional Sports Authenticator is launching the same service for game-used bats.

Led by PSA Professional Model Bat Authenticator John Taube, the company has compiled a list of game-used pro model bats that encompass the playing careers of 30 of baseball greatest hitters, from Hank Aaron to Ted Williams. While the list of players and game-used bats will continue to grow, the bats in PSA’s initial pop report database were all chosen based on their historical significance, rarity, popularity of the player, visual appeal and market value.

A Hank Aaron game-used bat included in PSA's new bat pop report.

Hank Aaron bat in the PSA bat pop report. 

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The first 30 players were selected from the book “Legendary Lumber – The 100 Top Players Bats in Baseball History.” The next group will also come from the book.

“Our plan is to complete the players that appear in the book as they represent the top 100 bats in baseball history,” Taube said. “After that additions will be discussed.”

Authenticated game-used bats have soared to all-time highs in recent months. In February of 2020, a 1922-23 game-used Lou Gehrig bat, graded PSA/DNA 10, sold for $1,025,000, followed by a 1922 Ty Cobb gamer, graded PSA GU 10, that sold for $1.1 million. In February of this year, a 1916-18 Babe Ruth bat, graded PSA 9.5, topped $1 million, while a 1912 Honus Wagner bat sold for $900,000. Most recently, a 1920 signed Ruth bat went for $870,000 in the latest auction at Heritage Auctions.

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Bats with special significance are also going for top dollar. A 1985 Mizuno bat that Pete Rose used to tie Ty Cobb’s hit record with 4,191 hits sold this month for $855,000 at Heritage. Last March a bat used by Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. to record his 3,000th career hit, graded PSA GU 10, sold for $200,000.

“The game-used bat population report will be of great value to collectors,” Taube said. “Just look at what the pop report has done for cards. We expect bat values to continue to rise as collectors open auction catalogs to find item descriptions that include high-graded bats with low population numbers indicating that they are truly rare.”

The PSA Game-Used Bats Population Report is simple to use. Collectors are provided with a lineup of 30 players and their respective number of PSA-graded bats. 

PSA's game-used bat pop report.

PSA's game-used bat pop report. 

A total of 3,055 game-used bats have been recorded across the player list, including the likes of Roberto Clemente (157 bats), Babe Ruth (98), Mickey Mantle (79), Stan Musial (59), Ernie Banks (39), Lou Gehrig (37), Ty Cobb (34), Honus Wagner (20) and Jackie Robinson (19). Many players on the list are still living, including Hall of Famers Derek Jeter (324 bats), Ken Griffey Jr. (187), Mike Schmidt (154), Johnny Bench (101) and George Brett (89) and current stars Albert Pujols (247) and Mike Trout (191).

Each player’s name directs users to their respective PSA-graded pop report page where all of his recorded bats are broken down by grade, ranging from “PSA/DNA GU 10” to “PSA/DNA GU 0” (or authentic). There are also quick links provided to areas such as “Prices,” “Facts” and even the “[PSA Set] Registry.” The facts tab for George Brett, for example, says: “George Brett bats exhibiting heavy pine tar sell for a premium.”

While every player will not make the bat pop list, it is sure to include most of the game’s most significant stars.

“Every significant player could find his niche on the report,” Taube said. “Our goal is to establish the community of player bats that are available in the marketplace, with their grade and value. Collectors will find this information very beneficial.”