I’m a third-generation Pirates fan and I’d never heard about Roberto Celemente’s nickname. Until now:
For close to 50 years, it sat in a corner of a North Side attic. Just another dusty, old, forgotten piece of wood with an obscure name stamped into it.
That piece of lumber — a Roberto Clemente bat from the seventh game of the 1960 World Series — was among the memorabilia auctioned Thursday night at the National Sports Collectors Convention at Baltimore’s Orioles Park at Camden Yards. It sold for $41,825.
. . .
The Clemente bat turned up in the attic of Andrew Baxter’s parents, decades after The Great One handed it to Clifford Baxter, a city police officer working crowd control at Forbes Field on Oct. 13, 1960.
Andrew Baxter’s memory of his father’s prize is a little hazy.
“I remember being in the kitchen and him coming in with his uniform and saying, ‘Hey guys, look what I have. I got this bat at the game and the Pirates won. I got this bat from Clemente,’ ” said Mr. Baxter, a retired Pittsburgh Public Schools teacher who was 11 at the time.
Mr. Baxter and his two younger brothers, Denny and Clifford, did not grow up to be big baseball fans and forgot about the bat. Their father died in 1972 and their mother lived until November 2010.
“After she passed away, we were going through the house and removing things, and my one brother said, ‘Hey, whatever happened to the bat?’ I said, ‘I don’t know. As far as I know, it’s still up in the attic.’ And we went up there and sure enough, there it was.”
What was unusual about the bat was the name on it. And it’s that uniqueness that makes it so valuable.
“Momen Clemente was his nickname as a child,” Mr. Scheier said. “Apparently, when he was a child, he was often deep in thought and when someone would call him, he would say ‘Momentito,’ which meant ‘Hold on a second.’ And that was how he got that nickname.”