By BABE WAXPAK — Dear Babe: When I was a boy about 8 (I'm now 61) I was injured and in a hospital in Pittsburgh. A friend of my father, Carl Dephillipo from Cleveland, gave me a bat, which he said was given to him by, as well as used by, Joe DiMaggio. Mr. Dephillipo is still alive (about 87 years young) living near Cleveland and has had the nickname of "DiMag" forever. I have a copy of a news article (maybe 45-plus years old) where he discusses his collection. In the interview, he makes mention of his gift of a Joe DiMaggio bat to a crippled boy in Pittsburgh. I am that boy he notes but, I was not "crippled." Though for sure, a gift to a crippled boy makes a much better story. -- Tom Hadley, Hugo, Okla.
Babe: It definitely looks like you've got a winner on your hands.
Here's what three experts had to say.
"Very interesting. We bought much of this collection decades ago," said Mike Heffner, president of http://www.Lelands.com. "It was good stuff and he did get a lot right from the players. The bat looks right. I would need the weight and length to be sure that it was DiMaggio's, but from the pictures, it looks correct. And, it appears to have light use. Many collectors prefer heavy use, so the better the use, the higher the value, usually. That is unless the amount of use has caused a very large crack or a piece is missing. From the looks of it, it is game used and I would say that it could sell for $15,000 or more in auction. If it has better use, it could be $30,000 or more. If it had no use, then it would be $5,000 or less," Heffner said.
"Yes. This is absolutely an authentic Joe DiMaggio pro-model bat," said Robert Lifson, president of http://www.robertedwardauctions.com. "Every bat is a little different and will be valued by collectors a little differently. It is definitely worth at least $15,000, maybe much more."
Dear Babe: My mother-in-law has a commemorative Christmas stocking for the 2004 Red Sox. It is about 12 inches in length and has the team logo and an imprint for the World Series victory. It is a licensed MLB product. -- Paul Lipari, Nashua, N.H.
Babe: It looks like this will be more valued as a reminder of the Red Sox ridding themselves of the "Curse of the Bambino" and winning their first World Series in 86 years.
Once the Sox clinched the Series, the "ready-to-wear" items that are actually more novelties than collectibles flooded the marketplace.
A quick search of "Red Sox 2004 Christmas" in eBay Completed Auctions showed 27 items. Of those, only a couple sold for around $5.They were both ornaments that look like baseballs. The stockings, a bell-shaped ornament and a Christmas hat all commemorating the '04 Series win closed without getting bids.
Babe note: For more than five decades, the round numbers in the basic Topps baseball set have been reserved for the top stars. Further card numbers that ended with a "0" or a "5" also had above-average players on them. That seems to have changed with 2013 Topps Series 1.
Miguel Cabrera was No. 200 in 2012. Then he went out and won the first Triple Crown in decades. He's No. 153 in 2013. While Bryce Harper is No. 1, Mike Moustakas is No. 100, Scott Downs 200 and Daniel Murphy 300.
Repeated requests for an explanation from Topps have gone unanswered. It's possible it was all a mistake that will be changed when Series 2 hits hobby-store shelves. Preliminary checklists are on various websites, but none has numbers associated with names at this point.
(Babe Waxpak is written by Bill Wagner. If you have a question for Babe Waxpak, include your full name and hometown, the card number, year and manufacturer or send a photocopy. Please do not send cards. The address is: Babe Waxpak, Box 492397, Redding, CA 96049-2397 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.)
(Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, shns.com)