Blog: September 2007

September 1, 2007. The Cardinals recalled five players before the game and three made appearances. Cairo was back and, as anticipated, wearing #3. Cavazos, whose #33 was given to Branyan, was wearing #63. Jiminez still has #56 on his back. Didn't see Schumaker or Maroth, but I'm assuming their numbers haven't changed... Cairo used a black LS M9... Edmonds was wearing a wrist band with Encarnacion's #43... The announcers were making a big deal about Ryan wearing a pair of Pujols' shoes. Have to admit I agree with them -- the two-toned shoes just don't go with the old-school socks.

September 2, 2007. It's a banner day for Rawlings. Three players -- Ankiel, Ludwick and Bennett -- are all using black ones. It's the first time I've seen Bennett use a Rawlings bat... After a couple strikeouts, Duncan pulled out his natural Carolina Clubs bat again. It didn't help... After seeing the tape on Looper's bat handle, I'm convinced Franklin was using Looper's bat on 8/31... I visited the Authentics Store at the Stadium Friday night and had a chance to see some of the bats I've noted in past blog entries. Among the bats for sale is the David Wright Marucci used by Pujols ($750, though a large piece of the handle is missing); a Pujols Sam Bat used by Molina ($400); and Ryan Ludwick's infamous "Brian Ludwig" Carolina Clubs bats... Here's a close-up look at the back of the pre-game shirts. You can see how the letters and numbers are ironed on, not stitched.

September 3, 2007. Branyan had his first AB for the Birds. He used a natural Rawlings with a blue or black ring. His glove was a black Rawlings... Cairo used a natural Marucci with red handle tape... Cavazos used an Easton glove. Don't see many of those... Jiminez batted with a natural Rawlings bat... Edmonds, Pujols and Molina all had "43" wristbands on... Today marked another "jersey off their backs" day. So, somebody paid $1 for a scratch-off ticket and took home a Pujols jersey.

September 4, 2007. Pujols has been using a two-tone Max Bat the past couple of nights... The team recalled four more players today. Falkenborg will continue to wear #60 and Thompson will keep his old number. Kelly Stinnett is now wearing Randy Kiesler's #54; Kiesler was DFA'd before the game. You'll recall Stinnett was #35 earlier this season. Piñeiro now has that number. Newcomer Brian Barden was assigned #62... I've updated the Buy/Sell/Trade section after ignoring it for a while. Have included some new bats for sale and deleted several bats from my want list.

September 5, 2007. I was re-watching last night's game on the DVR and noticed at the end of the 7th inning, when the camera zoomed in on Edmonds' bat, it wasn't Jim's model. The bat was made for someone on the Washington Nationals; it looks like Robert Fick's signature. Also, it's an unusual model -- a US7, or U87 or U67 -- difficult to tell for sure... After going hitless with Max Bat last night, Albert switched back to Marucci. On the year, Albert is hitting .143 using Max Bat, .338 with Marucci... Mulder swung a black LS M9 with solid white handle tape... Barden made his Cards debut tonight; used a natural LS ash bat.

September 6, 2007. Cairo used a black Rawlings today. He's also used LS and Marucci in his short time back with the Cards... Ankiel hit two more HRs today, which makes me happy because I was fortunate to buy one of his recently used Max Bats for my personal collection. Based on photos I've seen, it could be the bat Rick used to hit a HR in his triumphant return on August 9 and two HRs on August 11. The tape pattern on the handle seems to match up.

September 7, 2007. Didn't spot anything new or unusual on the field tonight, though a couple shots of the bench did catch my eye. I noticed Memphis manager Chris Maloney was in uniform and wearing #77. I'm still deciding whether I should include him in the uniform number database. He's not an "official" coach, but he is in uniform... Still trying to determine if Memphis hitting coach Rick Eckstein also is in uniform. I know he's with the team, but I haven't actually seen him. Rick, of course, is David's brother. If he is wearing a jersey, I hope there's no "R." before the last name. I really hate first initials on a jersey. UPDATE: I went back and looked at video from Thursday's game. Rick Eckstein is in uniform, wearing #73. And there's no initial, just a last name.

September 8, 2007. Yadier Molina was out of the lineup after being hit squarely in the face mask on Friday night. I heard LaRussa on the radio saying that the goalie-style mask Yadi wears doesn't have the padding that traditional masks have and that the team has ordered one of those older-style masks for Yadi (I assume similar to the one used by Bennett). Don't know if that means Yadi's current mask will be discarded, but I know a few collectors who would love to have it... Eckstein's jersey was missing the Majestic logo on the sleeve again... I've been told by a couple people that David's brother, Rick, wore one of David's #22 jerseys last week before being assigned #73.

September 9, 2007. Broken bats all over the place today. At least four players -- Stinnett, Ryan, Edmonds and Schumaker -- all broke bats... Interesting in the 9th inning when Edmonds broke his bat, he went all the way back to the dugout for a replacement. It turned out to be a black Rawlings, probably someone else's model... Ryan went through three brands -- Max Bat, LS M9 and Marucci.

September 10, 2007. Yadi was, indeed, using a new "old style" catcher's mask today... More broken bat barrels flying around the field today. Eckstein and Ryan were sawed off in back-to-back at-bats. Even the announcers are commenting on the frequency of bats breaking... Branyan was using a black bat. Couldn't see the labeling well, but I think it may be a Carolina Clubs bat... Edmonds was back to his typical bat today.

September 11, 2007. Yadi was using his goalie-style mask again tonight, but according to Post-Dispatch writer Derrick Goold, the mask was modified. Goold writes: "Borrowing pieces from Gary Bennett’s traditional catcher’s mask, Cardinals bullpen catcher Jeff Murphy improvised additional padding for Yadier Molina’s hockey goalie-style mask. The goal is to reduce the movement of the mask and provide more protection for Molina, who sustained a concussion last weekend because of a foul tip. Murphy removed the thick, leather-covered padding from Bennett’s backup mask and affixed it into the forehead and chin area of Molina’s mask. He also took some additional padding and lined the sides of the mask to make it more snug and reduce its clatter"... In memory of 9/11, players wore an American flag patch on the left side of their caps.

September 12, 2007. In his third plate appearance tonight, Albert used a flame treated LS ash bat. It's been a while since Albert has used either an LS bat or an ash bat. In fact, I believe it's the first time this season he's used ash. After flying out, though, he was back to his Marucci bat. I'm guessing the ash bat wasn't his model. Could possibly be a Rolen bat, maybe a Barden, or it could have belonged to one of the Reds players... Branyan snapped his Rawlings bat over his knee after striking out in the 7th... A rare sight in the fifth inning -- all three batters used the same type of bat. Ryan, Miles and Eckstein all used natural LS M9 bats.

September 13, 2007. I'm starting a new project and would appreciate your help. A few collectors, including myself, have expressed curiousity about the coding on the barrel end of Sam Bats. So, I decided to record the dates and code numbers of Sam Bats I own or have owned. I also did some quick research on the internet and found a few other examples. The results are here. The codes and dates generally correspond. Bats made before 2002 had player initials; since then, the numbers (more or less) increase with each passing date of manufacture. There are some inconsistencies, but if I can gather enough information, maybe they'll make sense. If you have a Sam Bat, please send me the date and code written on the end. I'll add your bat to my database and we'll see what patterns develop. Thanks!

September 14, 2007. On 9/10, I couldn't tell what brand of bat Branyan was using. But tonight, it was clear his black bat is an Old Hickory... In August, Pujols used Marucci 61 percent of the time and hit .302 with 6 HRs. He used black Sam Bat almost a third of the time and hit .303 with 1 HR. His remaining ABs featured the two-toned Sam Bat; he was 2-5 with no HRs... The response to the Sam Bat manufacturing code database has been very good. There already are 62 bats included. Thanks for your e-mails and input!

September 15, 2007. At the Stadium auction last night, a Skip Schumaker bat with the handle tape removed sold for $220. It was a Gwynn-finished X-Bat and the barrel included "USA Baseball" under Skip's name... Cairo was using a black Carolina Clubs bat today in game one. He switched to Rawlings in game two... Ryan was wearing the pajama pants tonight, possibly because he was wearing Pujols' shoes and realized that those shoes just don't go with the striped socks.

September 16, 2007. Yadi used a two-toned Sam Bat today. Wonder if it was his model or one of Albert's... Another note about the Schumaker bat sold at Friday night's auction: The handle tape was removed. I have a theory that if Skip breaks a bat and the grip is still fairly new, he removes it and reuses it. Seems I've seen more than one bat with little use and the tape removed; I've also seen pounded bats with ragged tape still attached... The Sam Bat manufacturing code database continues to grow. I estimate about 1 percent of all Sam Bats made for professional use already are accounted for.

September 17, 2007. Branyan used a black Rawlings tonight. It had white tape around the knob and a couple inches up the handle... Reyes was wearing pajama pants tonight. And he gave up a grand slam to Ryan Howard. Coincidence?... The Sam Bat manufacturing code database is up to 96 bats. Thanks for all the input, and please keep 'em coming.

September 18, 2007. Fourteen innings, 28 players (tied NL record), 11 pitchers (set NL record), 54 trips to the plate -- and absolutely no memorabilia-related items of note. Same bats, game gloves, same jerseys... Noting some interesting patterns so far in the Sam Bat coding, but none more curious than this: The Pujols bat used by Molina (see blog notes from 9/2) is dated 3/12/06, but it's code is 7545. The codes for other bats near that date are in the 6700-7000 range. A bat coded 7545 seems to fit better with bats made in early 2007. What's more, the bat was used by Yadi this season. Seems odd to think he'd be using a bat made in March of last year. Makes you wonder if the person who dated that bat wrote the wrong year. I do it with checks; it's not beyond reason that the same mistake could be made on a bat.

September 19, 2007. Ankiel switched from Rawlings back to Max Bat tonight. He used at least two different bats, one with criss-crossed handle tape and one with tape around the knob only... How perfect was it that Yadi got the game-winning walk-off single in the 10th inning on a night when fans received Yadi bobbleheads?

September 20, 2007. This was one of those games that make you dread firing up the DVR. The team is on life support, you know before watching it that the Cards lost 18-1, yet there's that daily obligation to watch and see if there's anything noteworthy from a memorabilia point of view. Even fast-forwarding capabilities couldn't make this one less painful. And to make it worse, there was nothing new to report.

September 21, 2007. Another stinker, another game with no new bat or uniform news. So, let's turn our attention to eBay. There's an Edmonds bat available currently that a couple people have asked me about. Remember, if there's no handle tape in Jim's familiar spiral pattern, the best it could be is a BP bat. This same seller had a Reggie Sanders bat two weeks ago that also was missing the normal handle tape. Hmm... A Pujols M9 also appeared recently. Please note it has no model number on the barrel and ball marks on the left-hand hitter's side... Finally, there's a 1947-50 jersey for auction that's advertised as a Gerry Staley gamer. Note the jersey has buttons down the front. The Cardinals' jerseys during those years had zipper fronts. Jerseys with buttons were made for minor league use.

September 22, 2007. As the season nears its end, it's interesting to note how few players have stuck with the same bat throughout the entire year. By my count, of the guys who played most of the season in St. Louis, only Eckstein (natural LS M9), Taguchi (black Mizuno), Spiezio (black LS ash) and Schumaker (Gwynn X-Bat) consistently have used the same lumber. Should also note that Wells never switched from the natural Rawlings. Barden was consistent (natural LS ash), but he was with the team for just a month. The most fickle players? Pujols, of course. He used eight different types of bats/finishes from five manufacturers. Guys who used bats from four manufacturers include Wilson, Ryan and Cairo in his brief stint.

September 23, 2007. Even with nothing on the line, it's always fun to watch Albert bat against Lidge. And wasn't it sweet to see Ankiel win it with that two-run triple? It's nice to close out the home schedule with a win like that one... Nothing new tonight on the memorabilia front. Since it was the last home game, tonight marks the last night the Cardinals Authentics store will be open until next April. However, I've been told the store will be seeking more online sales during the off season (as they've done with bases and baseballs the past few months), and they will be present at the Winter Warmup in January. So, if you didn't get that bat or jersey you wanted, keep checking the Cards' Web site to see if it pops up for sale.

September 24, 2007. Just two days after noting that Brian Barden was one of the consistent bat users on the team, he threw me a change up. He's still using an ash LS bat, but tonight's stick was black... Reyes was wearing pajama pants when he pinch ran for Pujols. Seems he only shows the socks when he knows he's pitching -- which he apparently won't be doing the rest of this season... Eckstein's Majestic logo-less road jersey made another appearance tonight... Seems the Pujols bat I mentioned on 9/21 has a "7" stamped into the knob. According to a source at H&B, the digit stands for 2007 and was done to differentiate souvenir bats from gamers since the M9 stickers are the same. I can see how that would be necessary if the Pujols bat had a model number; without it, the "7" seems unnecessary. Still, it's good to know H&B is making the effort to differentiate the M9 bats, similar to the way souvenir ash bats have the 125 underlined.

September 25, 2007. Miles joined other teammates who have swung Marucci this season, though I wonder if we'll see him do it again. He grounded out to end the game and broke the bat in two pieces in the process... Eckstein was wearing the same logo-less jersey for the second night in a row.

September 26, 2007. One night after Miles gave Marucci a shot, Branyan also decided to try a natural Marucci... Miles started with an M9, but tried Marucci again in his last at-bat... Last season, Ronnie Belliard was the only Cardinals player to even try Marucci. This season, the list of converts includes Branyan, Cairo, Miles, Molina, Pujols, Ryan, Stinnett, Wilson, Looper, Piñeiro and Wainwright. During the past couple of months, it's been Albert's bat of choice. The folks in Baton Rouge (where Marucci is made) must be proud.

September 27, 2007. Nothing new of note tonight... On 9/18, I suggested a particular Pujols Sam Bat dated 3/12/06 might have been marked wrong and possibly was made in 2007. Today I learned about another bat dated 3/12/03 and coded 7575. I re-examined the photo of the first bat and decided it's not 7545, but also 7575. Plus, there's a Pujols bat on eBay dated 3/27/07 and it, too, is coded 7575. Based on other bats listed in the Sam Bat coding database, the 7575 code seems appropriate to 2007, not '06 and certainly not '03. I have a hunch whoever was writing information on Sam Bats on 3/12/07 was not concentrating as hard as he should have been... The Sam Bat database has been updated. It now includes about 140 bats.

September 28, 2007. My son and I camped out on the field at Busch Stadium tonight and watched the game on the jumbotron. Part of the evening's festivities included a tour of the Cardinals clubhouse. I'll post photos and some observations next week... No new memorabilia notes tonight... Interesting stat of the night: Pujols has not struck out during the month of September. Ryan Howard of the Phillies has struck out 37 times during the same four weeks.

September 29, 2007. Noticed tonight that Miles is using an Eckstein bat. The 22 is clearly visible inside the cupped end and you can see it's a signature model. Miles doesn't have an H&B contract, so his bats have his name in block letters.

September 30, 2007. Branyan was using a natural Rawlings bat with a blue ring, so he must not have ordered or received any bats with a red ring after joining the Cards... Stinnett switched to a black Marucci for what likely will be his last game wearing the birds on bat... Miles broke the Eckstein bat he's been using... Never really noticed before, but trainer Barry Weinberg has a 32 patch on the right sleeve of his polo shirt... The end is here. Glad to take a break from the daily blog, but like most Cardinals fans, disappointed there won't be post-season baseball in St. Louis. I'll be making a post or two in the coming week. Not sure what I'll do with the blog over the winter, but I'm sure I'll be posting from time to time, so stay tuned. Thanks for reading!