Since our last catalog auction, we’ve made a number of references to the Dennis Clotworthy Collection. With our spring auction right around the corner, it makes sense to provide a more formal introduction to the collection.
Born in Malta, Dennis Clotworthy came to the United States with his family in 1963. Settling in Detroit, he naturally became a Tigers fan, and in 1972 realized the dream of every young fan by getting his first job with the Tigers – first as a junior usher, then as a visiting team’s batboy, and in 1974 as the Tigers batboy. Ultimately remaining employed with the Tigers until 1985, he experienced many milestones with the club, including Al Kaline’s 3,000th hit, the retirement of Kaline, the release of Tigers hero Norm Cash, the phenomenon of Mark Fidrych, and even the team’s World Championship season of 1984.
During the course of his career with the Tigers – and long after it as well – Dennis assembled a world-class collection of Tigers memorabilia (along with some Lions and Red Wings collectibles as well). Game-used bats and equipment, autographed game balls, programs and tickets, and most notably, memorabilia from Tigers Stadium itself all graced his collection, all of which was displayed in a wonderful memorabilia room in his Detroit area home.
In 2014, Dennis completed his memoirs and published Al Kaline’s Last Bat Boy – a wonderful collection of memories and anecdotes from his time with the Tigers. All the ups and downs are there, from his childhood anticipation of getting his first job with the team to his final game at the end of the 1975 season. Unlike most other first-person accounts of the big leagues, Dennis’ book tells the story from the wide-eyed perspective of a youngster, and because of that the book gives the reader the inside scoop without losing the sense of awe that comes with meeting and working with your childhood heroes.
Since sharing his memories with the hobby, Dennis has made the decision to share his collection as well. We are thrilled to be the auction house that Dennis has chosen to facilitate the sale, and are pleased to present more than 100 lots of his collection in our upcoming auction. It’s a tremendous find for any Tigers fan, any fan of 1970s baseball, and most importantly, any fan of memorabilia directly from old baseball stadiums.