Luke Sewell H&B pro-model rookie-era bat (pre-dating model numbers) dating from the 1921-1922 manufacturing period, which those two years also corresponding to Sewell's first two seasons in the Majors. Graded GU 10 by PSA. Luke Sewell pro-model bats are exceedingly rare and we cannot recall having seen another example at auction. This bat is further distinguished by the fact that it is vault marked, with the name "Sewell" stamped on both the knob and barrel end. The name "Sewell" is also stamped on the barrel in block letters, which indicates that Sewell did not yet have an endorsement contract with H&B. Because only the last name "Sewell" is listed on the bat, one could reasonably assume that this bat might have been used by Luke's more famous brother, Joe, who was his teammate on the Cleveland Indians in 1921 and 1922. According to PSA's accompanying LOA, the bat was determined to be Luke's, not Joe's, based upon the H&B factory records. During the 1921 and 1922 seasons Joe Sewell ordered cork-gripped bats almost exclusively, Since this bat is clearly not a cork-gripped model, it must have been ordered by Luke.
The bat, which is not cracked, is typical for the era, measuring 34.75 inches and weighing 40.6 ounces. Outstanding use is displayed throughout, including numerous ball marks, cleat marks, checking (grain separation from repeated ball contact) on the back of the barrel, and a small chip in the knob. The bat also displays side writing (which has faded beyond legibility) and the aforementioned vault marks displaying Sewell's stamped name on the knob and end of the barrel. The side writing and vault marks are the most important features on the bat. 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. Sometimes, the bats were also vault marked, such as this example. Those features are tantamount to a letter of authenticity from the player himself, as it guarantees that the bat was used and returned by the respective player whose name is written/vault marked on the bat.
Luke Sewell was the younger brother of Hall of Fame shortstop Joe Sewell and he followed in his brother's footsteps by becoming a Major League ballplayer. As luck would have it, Luke and Joe both played with Cleveland between the years 1921 and 1930. Luke played sparingly during his first three seasons on the club (1921-1923), spending most of his time learning the intricacies of become a Major League catcher by observing starter Steve O'Neill and studying opposing batters. By 1926 Luke had become the club's starting catcher and was noted for his outstanding defense and ability to handle pitchers. Following his playing days, Luke enjoyed a long Major League managerial career, including leading the St. Louis Browns to their only pennant in franchise history in 1944. This is an impeccable and seldom-seen Luke Sewell bat dating from the start of his Major League career in 1921 that would make a worthy addition to any advanced game-used bat collection. Full LOA from PSA.