Bidder up: This bat that once belonged to former Chicago White Sox great ''Shoeless'' Joe Jackson is up for bid at HA.com. | Heritage Auctions
Updated: August 2, 2011 12:26AM
‘‘Shoeless’’ Joe Jackson’s bat apparently still can deliver a hit.
It certainly has with bidders in an auction being conducted by Heritage Auctions. The auction going on at www.HA.com is to conclude Thursday as part of the National Sports Collectors Convention that will be held at the Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont.
At last look, bidding had reached $85,000 for the former Chicago White Sox star’s ‘‘Black Betsy’’ bat hand-carved from hickory.
Heritage director of sports auctions Chris Ivy said the Spalding-made bat was ‘‘Jackson’s constant and faithful companion throughout a tumultuous baseball career. It’s the most famous and important game-used bat of baseball’s long history.’’
The bat comes with pages of provenance paperwork. In a 1932 interview with the Greenville (S.C.) Piedmont newspaper, Jackson said:
“The bat was given to me by old Cap’n Martin, who drove one of the first street cars in Greenville. The bat was whittled out of hickory but I don’t know just where the Cap’n got hold of it. I sent it to the Spaulding (sic) baseball company and they finished it for me and stamped their label on it. I’ve had it ever since and it’s never been broke, although it’s getting old now and I expect it any time. I used to keep it soaked in a barrel of oil, but lately it’s just been thrown by my desk in Savannah.”
Card company Topps will hold a meet-and-greet/question-and-answer session with 100 collectors Thursday from 4 -5:30 p.m. at the the NSCC. Persons interested in attending should stop by the Topps booth to reserve a seat. Spots will be handed out on a first come-first serve basis. Topps will give away random prizes and refreshments.
Negroleaguelegends.org will have a booth at the NSCC with former players Hank Presswood, Johnny Washington, Ray Knox, Nathan Weston and Lou Clarizio. They are scheduled to be there Thursday from 3:30-6 p.m., Friday (10 a.m.-3 p.m.), Saturday (10-5) and Sunday (10-3).