Bucking a series of trends engrained into the fabric of our National Pastime, the 1924 Washington Senators staged a season-long crusade that unseated the almighty Yankees and, in the process, captured the attention of a nation and its otherwise reticent Chief Executive. The season culminated, of course, with baseball's first and last championship in the nation’s capital. As unfathomable as the concept seemed in prior or subsequent decades, the 1924 Senators’ feat was quite real and is represented on this autographed baseball bat. Nothing short of breathtaking, the vintage professional model weapon is decorated with (23) incredibly bold signatures that include principals of a championship roster that dates specifically to that 1924 campaign, as well as that of President Calvin Coolidge who, by all accounts, took a biased liking to the “home” team.
Having endured losing records in its first 11 seasons and in 17 of its first 23 campaigns, the franchise finally hit stride in 1924, faring respectably with a 57-49 mark by August 7. But from that point forward, the Senators closed with a torrid 35-13 run, catching their pinstriped rivals by September 19 and passing then by two full games as the dust cleared. The attendance reflected the club’s performance. In the lower half in gate receipts in all 23 prior seasons (and dead last eight times), the Senators climbed to fourth at the turnstiles in 1924. As for Coolidge’s support, he attended the season opener on April 15. But following that “obligatory” appearance, he returned to Griffith Stadium for the June 26 twinbill against the Philadelphia Athletics and again for Games 1, 6 and 7 of the World Series. During one of those Fall Classic showdowns, or perhaps at a celebratory post-series gathering, the offered bat was autographed by the World Champion subjects and their biggest supporter.
The medium is a professional model (37.8-oz/32-3/4”) war club with a deep brown patina, a smooth furniture-like finish and a defined “A.G. SPALDING & BROS” center brand. Executed throughout the barrel in black-ink steel tip fountain pen, the autographs remain incredible, averaging (“8-9”) potency nearly a century later. Just below the center brand, the regal penning of Calvin Coolidge (d.1933) resonates (“6-7”) strength and clarity. Senators signatures include: Ossie Bluege, Goose Goslin (signed “Loen (sic) Goslin”), Pinky Hargrave (d.1942; signed “W.M. “Red” Hargrave”), Bucky Harris (signed “Stanley Harris”), Walter Johnson (“9-10” strength), Joe Judge, Nemo Leibold, Mike Martin (trainer), Joe Martina, Earl McNeely, Ralph Miller (d.1939), George Mogridge, Curly Ogden (signed “W.H. Ogden”), Roger Peckinpaugh, Sam Rice, Muddy Ruel (signed “H. Ruel”), Allen Russell, Al Schacht (coach), Bennie Tate (signed “Bennett Tate”), Tom Taylor, Tom Zachary and Paul Zahniser.
While Coolidge was in attendance at two regular season games (cited above), the combination of these signatures dates to the World Series (or possibly a post-series gathering at the White House), as both McNeely and Taylor debuted well after Coolidge’s June 26 appearance. Full photo LOA from JSA.
Supporting the belief that these autographs were gathered during the 1924 World Series or at a post-series celebration, Tom Taylor played in 77 games for the Class A Memphis Chickasaws that year and didn’t debut with the Senators until July 9. Additionally, Earl McNeely (who drove in the World Series-winning run in the 12th inning of Game 7) played in 112 games for the Class AA Sacramento Senators that year and did not debut with the Senators until August 9.
While the JSA full photo LOA states that there are (24) signatures, we are able to find only (23).