One never knows what he or she might find at a garage sale, and one man in Iowa can definitely attest to this statement.
Bruce Scapecchi, of Des Moines, is a regular shopper at garage sales. He especially likes to look for items on sale during the warmer months. “I go, in the summer, anywhere to 2 and 5,000 garage sales,” he told KCCI.
One day in 2013, Scapecchi went looking for garage sales again and noticed that there was one organized by Sue McEntee. When Scapecchi reached McEntee’s home driveway, he laid his eyes on the items underneath a table on the floor.
“I saw a bunch of baseball bats under the table, mostly metal,” he recalled.
He picked up one bat and knew that it was different from the others, and was definitely worth more than $1.
He walked over to McEntee and told her what he thought of her bat.
“He picked this particular one up and he looked at me and said, ‘Do you know what this is?’ and I said, ‘Well yeah, it’s a bat,’ and he pulled me off to the side and said, ‘I think you might have something here,’” McEntee recalled.
Scapecchi went on to explain that he believed the bat once belonged to Jack Roosevelt Robinson, or better known as Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play Major League Baseball for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Robinson was considered one of the best baseball players of all time.
“The unique grip of the bat was Jackie Robinson’s style,” Scapecchi explained. To confirm his suspicions, Scapecchi told McEntee to grab a pencil.
“He said, when he looked at it, he said ‘It’s hard for me to tell but there’s one true way, I want you to go inside and get a pencil.’ I went in the house and I got a pencil and I came back out,” McEntee said. “There’s an area on the bat where he rubbed a lead pencil. And if you’re out in the sun you can see the name ‘Jackie Robinson’ and I was like ‘Holy cow!’”
“So, it went from being on the ground under a table and being sold for $1 to in the house pretty quickly,” she added.
McEntee had no idea that the bat once belonged to Robinson. Her children even played ball with the bat in their backyard while growing up. Despite not knowing the history behind the bat, she was not surprised by it.
“My uncle Joe Hatten played for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was a left-handed pitcher and they called him Lefty Joe and he and Jackie played baseball together in the 40s,” McEntee explained.
Scapecchi was fascinated to hear about the links between McEntee and Robinson.
“She said ‘And yes he was one of the few players that would room with Jackie’ and I just thought that was incredible,” Scapecchi said.