Spring Fever Auction
Tito Francona originally signed with the St. Louis Browns in 1952. He spent two seasons in the Browns/Baltimore Orioles' farm system before departing to serve in the U.S. Army for two years. Upon his return, he was invited to Spring training 1956 as a non-roster invitee, and made the club. He batted .258 with nine home runs and 57 runs batted in to finish tied with the Cleveland Indians' Rocky Colavito for second place in American League Rookie of the Year balloting behind Chicago White Sox shortstop Luis Aparicio.
After a hot Spring in 1958, Francona won the White Sox starting right field job. His stay in Chicago was short, as he was dealt to the Detroit Tigers on the June 15 trade deadline. With Hall of Famer Al Kaline in right, Francona logged just 84 plate appearances over the remainder of the season. Dissatisfied with his lack of playing time, Francona demanded a trade. On March 21, 1959, he was traded to the Cleveland Indians even up for Larry Doby. Francona would end up playing twelve more seasons with five additional clubs. He finished his career with 125 home runs, and a .272 batting average, and 656 RBI's.
Featured in this lot if a game used bat worthy of Cooperstown. This Lousville Slugger shows appropriate aging which is significant for its time frame. Francona's fascimile signature is etched into the bat towards the top above the words LOUSIVILLE SLUGGER. Additional markings include the traditinal Louisville Slugger oval logo, as well as "MADE IN USA", and the traditional "powerized" insignia right by the bats sweet spot. The bat still has its original taping job around the barrel beneath the major crack rising up through the barrel.
In addition to the crack the bat show excellent use only increasing its value. This bat is authenticated by PSA/DNA and is sure to become a solid investment for its next owner as time goes by.
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