Blog: June 2007

June 1, 2007. Eckstein's again wearing the road jersey that's missing the Majestic logo on the sleeve. Will be interesting to see how often this shirt pops up; could provide some insight into how many road jerseys Eck actually wears this season... Looks like Duncan is headed for the DL and that AAA shortstop Brendan Ryan will be called up. Wonder if he'll be assigned 13, 19, 33 or an offensive/defensive lineman number (60-70). I'm betting #33 since Ryan wears #3 in Memphis... Still waiting for Esposito to make an appearance so I can add him to the uniform number database. Not a good sign when Wells is selected to pinch hit and Esposito isn't. Of course, Wells did get a single.

June 2, 2007. Brendan Ryan did get the call, but instead of DL'ing Duncan, the team sent Cate back to AAA. Ryan is wearing #63 (would have lost that bet) and used a natural LS M9 in his first MLB at-bat. Ryan is the first Cardinals player to wear #63 since Luther Hackman in 2001... Esposito caught the 8th inning, but didn't bat... Miles was using a black LS M9 for the first time this season... The uniform number database is updated with Ryan's and Esposito's additions. The 2007 team bat list also is up to date.

June 3, 2007. The Cards made a deal today for catcher Kelly Stinnett. He last wore #33 for the 2006 Yankees. He also wore #33 as a rookie for the Mets in 1994. Since #33 is still available, we'll see if Stinnett gets it. Maybe that's why Ryan didn't... Speaking of Ryan, he used a natural-barrel X-Bat with a dark brown handle today... For the record, in addition to his two HRs, Pujols made two outs to center that totaled about 835 feet. He is so locked in.

June 5, 2007. Poor Brian Esposito. When guys are optioned to AAA and expected back in the future, the team usually saves their numbers for them. Esposito's #35 was given to his replacement, Kelly Stinnett. Ouch. Why are the Cardinals recycling numbers when #33 -- which made so much sense for Stinnett (see 6/3 entry) -- is available? Are they expecting Larry Walker to become a full-time coach at some point?... Stinnett used a natural LS M9 after replacing Bennett, who was beaned and left the game... Tyler Johnson had his first plate appearance of the season. He laid down a perfect bunt with what appeared to be a black LS ash bat.

June 6, 2007. Brendan Ryan has switched from #63 to #13. I'll update the uniform number database once he gets into a game and makes it official... Duncan was using black LS M9 bats tonight. It's the first time I've actually seen him use anything other than Carolina Clubs during a game. He shattered one in the first inning and a closeup of the barrel showed it was his personal model. He used the maple LS during each at bat.

UPDATE: Ryan was optioned to AAA after the game and pitcher Andy Cavazos was called up. Because he did not appear in a game wearing #13, Ryan's wearing of that number will not be recognized in the database. This approach is consistent; players must make an official appearance and be listed in a box score before a number can be considered "game worn." I suspect we'll see Ryan again. His #13 likely will be waiting for him.

June 7, 2007. Andy Cavazos took the mound for his MLB debut tonight wearing #33. Go figure. And just when it looked like #19 would be the only unusued digit lower than Tyler Johnson's #61, Johnson decided to change from #61 to #19 on his birthday. So, it's now official: Excluding JRod, Ankiel and guys who have "reserved" digits waiting, any new player either will be given a recycled number or a lineman's number... Duncan was back to using Carolina Clubs tonight.

June 8, 2007. Tyler Johnson was back in his old #61 tonight. Can't wait to hear the explanation why. Cardinals broadcaster Al Hrabosky said Johnson wanted #19 before opening day, but "the veterans gave him a hard time," so he kept #61. He never made an official appearance in #19, so technically, the switch never happened. Has anyone else noticed that 19 is 61 turned up-side-down?... The Cardinals signed Troy Percival to a minor league contract today. If he completes his comeback and eventually makes the team, look for him to wear #40, the only digits he's ever donned. That would mean a switch for Brian Falkenborg, who has worn #40 in parts of the past two seasons -- assuming, of course, that Falkenborg is recalled at some point... A fellow collector tells me he just purchased a Pujols LS M9 bat used by Kelly Stinnett. Still had the #5 in the cup, but Stinnett added a "3" to the knob to make his #35. Pujols hasn't used an M9 since his third plate appearance of the season.

June 9, 2007. Rick Hummel writes in today's Post-Dispatch that until his new jerseys are ready, Tyler Johnson, who has been granted his wish to change to #19, will remain #61. His debut as #19 will come in Kansas City on Tuesday... A flood of jerseys showed up at the Cardinals Authentics store at Busch this week. All were commons and coaches -- no stars. Shirts from the 2006 World Series average $750, as do gold-trimmed jerseys from the 2007 opening series vs. the Mets. Jerseys from the '06 regular season run $350-500. Spring training '07 jerseys average about $400 each and BP jerseys run about $250 each.

June 10, 2007. With the exception of two at-bats on 6/2, Albert has used a black Sam Bat this entire month. Interestingly, though, he's been using a two-toned Max Bat for BP each day of the current homestand. Given that he's used that bat in just 11 regular plate appearances so far in 2007, if you come across a Max Bat, you just about have to assume it's either from batting practice or spring training, when he also used Max Bat.

June 12, 2007. Adam Kennedy is the first player to use Old Hickory this season. He used a natural stick with heavy tar during tonight's game... Eckstein was wearing his jersey with the missing Majestic logo again... Albert used three different bats in the game -- black Sam Bat, a natural Sam Bat with heavier tar than normal (he flung it in anger after popping up), and a two-toned Max Bat. Interesting how he whipped out the Max Bat in light of the 6/10 entry.

June 13, 2007. Tyler Johnson officially made an appearance wearing #19. He also debuted a Dennis Rodman-like platinum dome. So, he has two things to blame for his 3-run 9th inning meltdown. Wonder what he'll abandon first, his number or his hair color. When the camera zoomed in on his hair, a subtle "JH" could be seen written on his cap above his right ear... Albert started with the Max Bat, but a splinter flew off the bat on his single up the middle. He was back to his black Sam Bat for the balance of the game... Eck again was wearing the jersey that's missing the Majestic logo.

June 14, 2007. Games like tonight's make me glad we have a DVR. I can't imagine the pain of watching the Royals score 17 runs in real time... Nothing new in terms of bats or jerseys... I've started researching pregame and spring training Cardinals jerseys and am trying to build a database of characteristics by season. If you have a player-worn, pre-1998 BP jersey and can pinpoint its use to a specific year, please let me know at birdbats@charter.net. I've collected a good amount of data so far, but still have several holes to fill, especially in the early and mid 1980s when this type of jersey came into being.

June 15, 2007. Another game, another night I'm happy to have a DVR to zoom through the ugly parts. Again, I didn't note anything new or different with bats or jerseys... MLB.com currently has several pink Mother's Day bats available at auction, but no Cardinals bats. It's interesting this year how many different brands of pink bats were supplied to players. Hillerich & Bradsby started the pink bat promotion, but brands available on MLB.com this year include Rawlings, Old Hickory, X-Bat, Marucci, D-Bat, Max Bat, BWP and what appears to be a Nokona bat.

June 16, 2007. Brendan Ryan was recalled today and played wearing his new number, #13. Historically, players tended to avoid #13. After 1946, nobody wore it until Joe Ferguson in 1976. And after Clint Hurdle wore it in '86, it stayed in mothballs until Aaron Holbert took it in '96. Perhaps out of necessity, six players have worn #13 since 2000 -- three in the past two seasons.

June 17, 2007. Players wore light blue ribbons on their jerseys today (just to the right of the birds on bat) in recognition of Father's Day and prostate cancer awareness. A few players also wore light blue wrist bands with "DAD" on them.

June 18, 2007. Received my Jackie Robinson Day jerseys today from MLB.com and learned the answer to a question I had: How did they tell the players' jerseys apart? After all, there were no names on the back and each guy wore #42. Well, they simply wrote each player's regular uniform number on the wash tag. For the record, the wash tag code is 0062 on both of my jerseys; no extra code under that. Both shirts have size flags, but no year flags... My two shirts from the Civil Rights Game also have 0062 tags, but a second code -- 0211W2 -- appears below. Those jerseys have size tags but no year flags... A new batch of Mother's Day pink bats is available on MLB.com and a few more brands apparently were used on that day. The current auction includes bats made by Easton, Carolina Clubs and A Bat, a company with which I'm not familiar. Again, no Cardinals bats.

June 19, 2007. Noticed Brendan Ryan using three different brands tonight -- a Louisville Slugger, a Max Bat (natural finish) and an X-Bat (natural barrel, brown handle)... Pujols also used at least three different bats.

June 20, 2007. In a game where 22 players saw action, you'd think there might be something of note, equipment-wise, but no. For the record, only Johnson, Reyes and Thompson did not play... Albert is still using his Max Bat for BP... Though it's difficult to say with certainty, it looks like Stinnett is still using Albert's M9 bats. On the knob, it looks like the "3" was added before a slightly different "5", and in one close up, I thought I could see "Pujols" on the barrel... Albert's golf outing is Thursday. If anyone goes, I'd welcome reports about game-used memorabilia available at auction.

June 22, 2007. Encarnacion was using Molina's black X-Bat tonight. It was identical to one Yadi used earlier this season -- silver band near the logo, black handle tape with a white tape band at the top. Even had "4" on the knob... Cate got an at-bat tonight. Looked like he was using Miles' natural LS ash bat... Kennedy used at least three different bats, a Rawlings and two LS ash bats... One of Kennedy's spring training road jerseys (signed) sold for $300 at the Cardinals Care auction... The trade of Mike Maroth to the Cards raises the question of what number he'll wear. Cate currently is wearing #46, Maroth's number with the Tigers.

June 23, 2007. Today was jersey-off-the-back day at Busch. By purchasing a $1 scratch-off ticket, fans could win a player's jersey. Seemed most players and coaches were wearing Cool Base shirts, including Pujols, who doesn't seem to wear them often (if at all). At one point, Albert literally was undressed by a pitch -- it completely untucked his shirt and caused a couple buttons to come undone. You could even see the Cool Base tagging. The only players who looked to be wearing regular knit jerseys, not Cool Base shirts, were Taguchi, Encarnacion, Bennett and Isringhausen.

June 24, 2007. Pujols used a black Sam Bat for his first two plate appearances, but swung an natural Old Hickory in his last two trips. It was the first time this season he's used OH. It was tough to be sure, but it looked like the #7 was on the knob. Before today, Kennedy was the only Cardinals player to use Old Hickory. Could Pujols have been using Kennedy's bat? Entirely possible... Stinnett used a black Marucci bat in the third inning before going back to his (or Pujols') natural LS M9.

June 25, 2007. It was reported during the weekend that Maroth would wear #62 because, basically, it was the lowest number available. This afternoon, the Cardinals Web site listed both Cate and Maroth as #46. When he finally took the hill, Maroth indeed was wearing #46. Cate surrendered the digits and took Johnson's old #61... Maroth was using one of Eckstein's bats... Troy Percival reportedly will be activated tomorrow. We'll see if he's assigned Brian Falkenborg's #40... Learned today the only game-used items available at last Thursday's Pujols Family Foundation golf outing were a pair of batting gloves and a single cleat. Seems odd that with the thousands of dollars that could be generated with bats and jerseys, the PFF couldn't offer more than two gloves and a shoe.

June 26, 2007. Stinnett used a natural Marucci for the first time, then proceeded to break it into two pieces... Percival, indeed, is wearing #40. If Falkenborg is recalled this season, he'll need to adopt a new number... Cate made his first appearance wearing #61... Here's an even better photo of Pujols getting undressed by a pitch on 6/23.

June 27, 2007. Not much to note from tonight's rain-shortened game. Reyes used a black LS M9 for the first time this season. He's the only pitcher so far to use more than one kind of bat, having swung the LS ash, LS M9 and X-Bat... MLB.com auctioned off three more Civil Rights Game jerseys tonight. Carpenter's shirt sold for $300 and a jersey made for Mulder sold for $160. Ryan Franklin's jersey did not received a $200 minimum bid. None of the three pitchers played in the game; I don't believe Mulder was even with the team or in uniform.

June 28, 2007. Rained out in New York... Just a reminder: For an updated listing of which bats are being used by each Cardinals player, click the "Notes and Articles" button above, then click "2007 Cardinals" under the heading "Team Bat Use Records" in the left column. Lists for 2006 and 2005 also are available.

June 29, 2007. Both Pujols and Molina (in his first game off the DL) were swinging natural Marucci bats tonight. Seems every time Albert spends time with Carlos Beltran, he's using Marucci bats soon thereafter. It's the first time I've seen Molina swing Marucci... Troy Percival made his Cardinals debut in the seventh inning. The uniform number database has been updated.

June 30, 2007. Didn't notice anything new with bats or jerseys tonight. Pujols and Molina again were swinging Marucci bats. It looked like Molina's bat may have had #15 on the knob, which would support the theory that it came from Carlos Beltran. Couldn't see Albert's knob, but it looked like there was a #5 only on the barrel end.