Last Updated On: July 14th, 2023
Game used bat cards are trading cards that feature a piece of a professional baseball player’s game used bat embedded into the card. These chase cards have become very popular with sports card collectors due to their rarity and unique characteristics — including game used bat barrels, bat name plates, bat knobs, and some even include the player’s autograph.
Some of the top brands that produce game used bat cards include Topps, Panini, Upper Deck, and Leaf. These companies typically obtain game used bats directly from players or teams and then cut them into small pieces to be embedded into cards and randomly inserted into packs.
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How Are Game Used Bat Cards Authenticated?
The card manufacturer will certify and label memorabilia as game used on the front or back of the card. The actual piece that was embedded into the card is guaranteed authentic from MLB, although there is no actual service that truly authenticates the game used bat by the time it arrives in the collector’s hands; it’s essentially just a matter of trusting the — hopefully reputable — card manufacturer.
In the circled example below, notice how Topps labels the front of the 2022 Topps Sterling Derek Jeter Game Used Bat Barrel Nameplate 1 of 1 card.
Here is another example of a Mike Trout 2021 Sterling Autographed Game Used Bat Knob 1 of 1 card.
How Are Game Used Bat Cards Made?
Game used bat cards are quite literally made by first cutting up a game used baseball bat. If you’re wondering how many pieces can be cut from a single bat, Eric Whiteback on YouTube sought to find out.
In the video below, Eric destroyed an existing game used bat card and estimates the piece of bat embedded into the card could amount to 7,559 pieces based on its weight and the total weight of a MLB baseball bat at 32 ounces. That said, the card Eric used for his experiment happened to include a tiny piece of bat. Of course a game used bat knob would be much more limited as a bat only has one knob. You could arguably split the knob into two halves to create two game used bat knob cards.
What Are The Different Types of Game Used Bat Cards?
There are several different types of game used bat cards with varying levels of rarity, and value. The baseball player, uniqueness of the bat cut, and rarity of the card will add to the value assigned by the market and overall collectability.
Game Used Bat Card (General):
A baseball bat can be cut into many pieces, and many cards are embedded with a piece from a random location on the bat. These cards are usually much more common, and therefore not as sought after given they are not rare. For example, the following Babe Ruth game used bat card recently sold for $200.
Game Used Bat Knob Card:
As the name suggests, a game used bat knob is indeed the knob of the baseball bat that is embedded into the baseball card. The card is much thicker than a traditional baseball card, and also much more rare. It is common for a bat knob card to be a 1 of 1, and valued well over $1,000 for hall of fame-caliber baseball players (e.g. Mike Trout, Ken Griffey Jr., Albert Pujols, and Derek Jeter).
Game Used Bat Barrel Card:
Typically this type of game used card will contain the sweet spot of the baseball bat — the barrel. The barrel is the prime location of the bat as this is where most contact with the baseball will occur. Scuffs, scratches, and dents add to the overall appeal of the card.
Game Used Bat Nameplate Card:
Also part of the barrel area, the nameplate is even cooler. The name of the baseball player is typically etched into bat barrel, either in a standard type font or as a facsimile autograph. Here is an example of an actual Albert Pujols Game Used Bat with the nameplate showing auctioned by Pristine Auction. The bat was produced by popular baseball bat company Marucci:
Now here is a 2022 Topps Sterling Albert Pujols Game Used Bat Nameplate 1/1 card with a similar Marucci-bat cut-out embedded into the card. Can it get any neater?
What Products Include Game Used Bat Cards?
There are many baseball card products that contain game used bat chase cards. The odds of pulling a game used bat card can vary greatly based on the product, the type of bat card, and of course its rarity. You can hunt for game used bat cards in any of the following top trading card products:
- Topps Sterling
- Topps Five Star
- Topps Tier One
- Topps Museum
- Topps Triple Threads
- Topps Tribute
- Topps Dynasty
- Topps Transcendent
- Panini Flawless
- Panini National Treasures
- Panini Immaculate
- Upper Deck Piece of History
- Upper Deck Sweet Spot
- Leaf Lumber
- Leaf Limited
- Leaf Metal
- Leaf Pearl
What Are The Most Valuable Game Used Bat Cards?
The value of a game used bat card depends on various characteristics, such as the player featured on the card, the rarity of the card, and whether the card is autographed by the player. Here are some examples of the most valuable game used bat cards ever sold. While these cards auction from time to time, they rarely surface again for years to come as they are likely stored away for safekeeping by big time collectors.
Babe Ruth Game Used Bat and Autograph Card: $33,000
It’s no surprise Babe Ruth makes this list. The most iconic player in baseball history was featured in a 2015 Topps Dynasty product release with this 1 of 1 game used bat card accompanied with Babe Ruth’s autograph. The value of this card is no doubt exponentially higher with the autograph, as Ruth’s autographs consistently sell for thousands of dollars.
This 1 of 1 Babe Ruth game used bat card sold for $33,000 in September, 2022 via Lelands Auctions.
Honus Wagner Game Used Bat Knob Baseball Card: $24,600
This Topps Tier One Honus Wagner game used bat knob 1 of 1 card sold for $24,600 in August, 2022 via Goldin Auctions.
Honus Wagner played for over 20 years dating back to the late 1800’s and early 1900’s primarily for the Pittsburg Pirates. It is not uncommon to hear news of Honus Wagner cards breaking multi-million dollar records when it comes to most valuable sports card ever sold. This game used bat knob baseball card almost sounds like a steal for $24,600.
Jackie Robinson Game Used Bat Autograph Card: $15,400
In September 2022, a Jackie Robinson game used bat autographed 1 of 1 card sold at Lelands auction for an impressive $15,400. This card is similar to the Babe Ruth card mentioned above in terms of design, and rarity. Jackie Robinson vintage baseball cards have always been in high demand among collectors, and there is a large market for Robinson memorabilia. It is safe to say that any Jackie Robinson game used memorabilia will continue to hold its value well at auction.
Roberto Clemente Game Used Bat Barrel Card: $15,000
Roberto Clemente is the 2nd iconic Pittsburg Pirate on this list after Honus Wagner. Roberto was one of the very first Latin baseball superstars, although he tragically passed at the young age of 38.
A hall of fame inductee, the 2004 Donruss Timeless Treasures Robert Clemente game used bat barrel card sold for $15,000 back in December, 2021, via eBay auctions.
Lou Gehrig Game Used Bat and Autograph Card: $13,000
Lou Gehrig was a legendary baseball player who played for the New York Yankees from 1923 to 1939. He is considered one of the greatest first basemen in the history of the game and is famous for having played 2,130 consecutive games.
The 2014 Topps Lou Gehrig game used bat autograph 1 of 1 card sold for $13,000 via Lelands auctions in September, 2022.
Mike Trout Game Used Bat Knob and Autograph Card: $12,360
Mike Trout is the first modern player on this list that is also actively still playing. Widely regarded as one of the best players of his generation, the Los Angeles Angel is consistently in the conversation for MVP every season.
The 2021 Topps Sterling Mike Trout game used bat knob autograph 1 of 1 card sold for a generous $12,360 in June, 2022, via Goldin Auctions.
Ty Cobb Game Used Bat and Autograph Card: $9,500
Ty Cobb played a majority of his career with the Detroit Tigers from 1905 to 1926. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of the game, finishing his career with a lifetime batting average of .366.
A 2017 Panini Flawless Ty Cobb game used bat autograph card recently sold for $9,500 in January, 2023, via Goldin Auctions. Unlike several of the other cards that we have discussed, which were 1 of 1 cards, this card is also very rare and is one of only two copies ever produced.
Derek Jeter Game Used Bat Nameplate and Autograph Card: $9,000
Derek Jeter retired in 2014 after playing 20 seasons with the New York Yankees. The Captain is a hall of fame inductee, and helped the Yankees win five World Series titles in his illustrious career as a shortstop.
The Derek Jeter game used bat nameplate autograph card, featured above, was produced in 2022 and sold for an impressive $9,000 on eBay in August of the same year.
Mickey Mantle Game Used Bat and Autograph Card: $7,500
As you’ve probably noticed, many legendary Yankees have made this list of highly valuable game used bat cards. And it’s fair to say any list of high value baseball cards is incomplete without a mention of Mickey Mantle. The iconic baseball player, who spent his entire career with the New York Yankees, is widely considered as one of the most significant athletes in baseball and sports history. He also helped the Yankees win seven World Series titles during his playing career.
The 2019 Panini Flawless Mickey Mantle game used bat autograph card is one of seven total copies produced, and sold for $7,500 in October, 2022.
Game Used Bat Cards Summary
In summary, game used bat cards have become a popular and unique addition to the world of sports card collecting. These sports cards are embedded with a piece of a professional baseball player’s game used bat, making them highly desirable by collectors due to their rarity, the type of bat piece placed into the card, and whether the card is autographed. Top brands such as Topps, Panini, Upper Deck, and Leaf are some of the producers of game used bat cards.
The different types of game used bat cards include general game used bat cards, game used bat knob cards, game used bat barrel cards, and game used bat nameplate cards. The rarity and value of the cards depend on various factors such as the player, the uniqueness of the bat cut, and the rarity of the card.
While the authenticity of the game used bat cannot be verified after it has left the manufacturer, the card manufacturers guarantee the authenticity of the embedded piece, and the market determines the overall value of the cards. If you are a sports card collector looking for a centerpiece to add to your collection, game used bat cards might be a great place to start.