Fresh to the hobby! This Willie Mays gamer is quite a rarity as the first example ever to surface from the Hanna Batrite brand.
Back in the mid-1950s, Mays attended a Polo Grounds youth clinic and personally handed the bat to our consignor Kevin Trainor, whose father Jim Trainor served as Polo Grounds superintendent from 1932 to 1957. Kevin's LOA recounts, "Annually, the New York City Police Athletic League (PAL) would hold clinics for the neighborhood youth. Although I was not a 'neighborhood' youth, my Dad, being the Superintendent of the Polo Grounds, made it happen. At these clinics, the actual Giants players and coaches would divide you into groups. Some would work on pitching, catching, hitting, throwing, base running etc. After a time your group would switch to another skill. I was probably eight or nine at the time. Willie Mays was my all-time favorite Giant. I even liked to imitate his 'bread basket' catching style...much to the chagrin of my Little League coaches. I remember, at the end of the clinic, sitting alone in the dugout with Willie Mays. This is when Willie Mays gave me his bat. A day I'll never forget."
The 35", 33.6-oz. bat is uncracked with outstanding use, including numerous barrel ball marks and green-and-blue bat rack streaks on the upper handle and barrel. According to John Taube's comments, "The [1953-1957] labeling period has been established by the consistency of the foil stamped barrel brands of the subject Willie Mays bat to a Johnny Mize professional model bat dating circa 1953." Graded GU 8. Full LOA from PSA/DNA.
The Jim Trainor NY Giants Collection
Polo Grounds superintendent Jim Trainor was there when Carl Hubbell struck out Ruth, Gehrig, Foxx, Simmons and Cronin in the 1934 All-Star Game. Trainor was there when Bobby Thomson hit the Shot Heard Round the World. He was there when Willie Mays made history with "The Catch." And that merely scratches the surface of what Trainor witnessed and experienced during his 25 years at Coogan's Bluff. He first joined the maintenance crew in 1932 as a sign painter, eventually rising to superintendent and overseeing all trade workers, from groundskeepers to electricians to plumbers. (Early in his career, Trainor's own father James also worked for National Exhibition Company—a.k.a. the NY Giants—and was charged with tending to the Polo Grounds umpire locker room.) When the Giants left for San Francisco in 1957, Jim Trainor stayed behind and later supervised the transition of the Polo Grounds into the temporary home for the New York Mets until Shea Stadium's completion. We're pleased to present the Trainor family's collection of Giants memorabilia, highlighted by a 1934 All-Star team-signed ball (w/Hubbell) and 1950s Willie Mays game-used bat, along with Giants programs, stubs, books and team-signed balls.