Elmer Smith H&B pro-model bat (predating model numbers) dating from the 1916 to 1922 manufacturing period. Elmer Smith game-used are exceedingly rare. This is the first example we have ever offered and we cannot recall the last time we have seen another. Smith etched his name into the annals of baseball history in 1920, when he became the first player in history to hit a grand slam in the World Series. He accomplished that feat as a member of the Cleveland Indians in the first inning of Game 5, driving a fastball from Brooklyn Robins' ace pitcher Burleigh Grimes high over the right field fence. The historic blast gave Cleveland a 4-0 lead that it never relinquished and guaranteed that Smith's name would forever be remembered by baseball fans. While we have no way of knowing when this bat was used by Smith, the large seven-year span offered by the manufacturing stampings at least allows for the possibility that it may have been used by Smith during the 1920 fall classic, which makes it all the more appealing.
The bat, which measures 34.25 inches and weighs 32.7 ounces, displays outstanding use throughout, including numerous ball marks on the left and back barrel, cleat marks on the left barrel, and an approximate fifteen-inch crack in the handle (extending through the center brand) that has been repaired with a vintage nail. The most important feature on the bat is the side writing on the left side of the barrel. (When players returned bats to the H&B factory for reorder, their names were normally written on the side of the bat in grease pencil, along with their team affiliation and date of return.) Unfortunately, the writing has faded beyond legibility, making it impossible to know for certain who returned the bat and when. Regardless, as PSA notes in its accompanying LOA, the bat's length and weight are consistent with Elmer Smith's ordering records for the time period referenced.
Smith began his Major League career with the Cleveland Naps in 1914, but was traded to the Washington Senators on August 18, 1916. His time in Washington was brief, as Cleveland purchased his contract back just one year later, on June 13, 1917, and he remained with the club through the 1921 season (he missed the 1918 season due to his military service in World War I). One of Cleveland's top sluggers during the dead ball era, Smith led the club in home runs for three consecutive seasons beginning in 1919. He retired after the 1925 season with 70 home runs, 540 RBI, and a .276 lifetime average. Full LOA from PSA.