Blog: August 2008

August 1, 2008. Isringhausen made his second plate appearance of the season, this time using a black ash LS. I'm assuming this was his personal "IZZY" model, now that he's home and using the bats from his locker... Miles used a natural LS M9 for the first time.

August 2, 2008. I made it to the National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago today. Among the cool Cardinals items I saw were a 1964 road Bob Gibson jersey; a 1967 road Dal Maxvill jersey; a 1956 road Stan Musial jersey; and a 1964 Gibson game used bat... Among the "iffy" items I saw were a 1968 road flannel, advertised as a spring training shirt, but clearly made for minor league use (the back number is too high to accommodate a name on back); and a 2004 So Taguchi road WS jersey that clearly was a 2003 spring training shirt (high second button style) with the wrong sleeve patch (no white border). The seller, a reputable dealer, said he bought the jersey from Cardinals Care. Scary... Good to see many St. Louis collectors roaming the show floor. Was able to visit with Wade, Ben, Mike, Steve, Doug, Brian (thanks again, man!) and several others... Also was able to engage in long conversations with old friends like Dave Bushing, and meet several other hobby bigfoots (John Taube, Zane Burns, Chris Cavalier, Troy Kinunen, etc.) with whom I'd talked and e-mailed often but had never met face to face. It was a blast. Makes me wish the National would come back to St. Louis.

August 3, 2008. Nothing new tonight, though I have noticed that Albert is using an unusual amount of pine tar on his bats. There's about 6-8 inches of the stuff on the upper part of the natural handle. It's not unusual for him to place tar there and then reach up for it when he needs it, and it usually wears away as the bat is used. But, the tar tonight was particularly thick.

August 5, 2008. The 2009 All-Star Game logo was unveiled today. Actually, two versions of the logo were introduced. The base design is very nice -- fairly symmetrical with the Gateway Arch as the graphic anchor. One version has "St. Louis" incorporated into the design; the other has "MLB" instead, and the letters are really honkin' big, especially when the MLB logo already is such a primary element. The dual design is consistent with the approach this year, where one version had both "Yankees" and "NYC" noted while the second had "Major League Baseball" featured instead of "Yankees." On the Cardinals' Web site, they're selling shirts with both logos. In in Post-Dispatch, it's suggested the official logo has "St. Louis," but the sleeve patch that will be worn has "MLB." Other than the "MLB" variation, the only other thing that bothers me is the extended bat without the second bird on the left. If they're going to use just one Cardinal, why not use the standard one-bird logo? On the other hand, the 2009 logo is the first ASG logo in a while to feature the host team's identity so prominently, so it's not all bad.

August 6, 2008. The David Eckstein era is over, and apparently, so is the Juan Gonzalez experiment. Felipe Lopez took the field tonight wearing Eck's old #22, digits that were donned in the spring by Juan Gone... The spacing of the letters in Lopez's name on the back of his jersey was slightly more than normal, suggesting it was made quickly by someone in the clubhouse... Lopez used a black Old Hickory from the left side... Mather used a black Marucci bat, clearly a Pujols model. Last night, Mather was using a Gwynn-finished Rawlings bat.

August 7, 2008. Felipe Lopez used a black Max Bat from the right side today, along with the Old Hickory he used last night... On the field before yesterday's game, the team awarded its Jackie Robinson Day jerseys to lucky fans who won a drawing. Stay tuned to eBay to see whose jersey hits the block first!

August 8, 2008. Joe Mather was using another Marucci bat today, but this one had a Gwynn finish. Couldn't get a good look at the barrel, though it's possible the bat is another Pujols model. Joe taped his handle and hits with the label down, so if this one shows up for sale, it should be easy to distinguish it from one used by Albert... A tougher call could be the Gwynn-finished Marucci swing by Yadier Molina today. It looked just like Albert's bat -- same tar, no tape, label up. Yadi has been known to use Albert's bats in the past.

August 9, 2008. Nothing new today... Got a better look at Mather's Gwynn-finished Marucci bat today. It is a Pujols model and Joe wrote his #62 on the knob.

August 10, 2008. Interesting that the starting lineup used just three brands of bat today: Rawlings (Glaus, Kennedy, Ludwick and Carpenter); X-Bat (Molina, Schumaker and Izturis); and Marucci (Pujols and Mather). Nobody used a Louisville Slugger until Miles hit in the eighth inning... Here's great evidence how styles and jersey sizing have changed through the years. I saw a 1981 Whitey Herzog shirt today; it was a size 44. By comparison, skinny guys like Skip Schumaker and Colby Rasmus currently wear size 46. A quarter century ago, 44 was one of the largest jerseys made. Today, it's one of the smallest.

August 11, 2008. Nothing new tonight... I've added a few jerseys to the For Sale page with more to come. Also updated by Want List. If you see anything on either list and want to make a deal, let me know.

August 12, 2008. Again, nothing new. We're in the dog days now. Can't wait for September 1 and the prospect of new call-ups.

August 13, 2008. Chris Perez had his first MLB at-bat tonight. He used a black LS M9... Don't know if I noted this before, but he uses a brown Nike fielder's glove.

August 14, 2008. Another uneventful evening in terms of uniforms and equipment... I failed to mention after July ended that Pujols made it through another month without a bat change. Through tonight's game, Albert has 480 plate appearances. He's used the Marucci Gwynn-finished bat 464 times (97 percent) and the black Marucci 18 times. His one use of a black Sam Bat on 4/7 was the only time he strayed from Marucci.

August 15, 2008. Brad Thompson was using one of Adam Wainwright's natural LS ash bats today... I hope I'm not giving away any strategic secrets here, but has anyone else noticed that players who typically use maple bats often will switch to ash in bunting situations?

August 16, 2008. Good to see the bidding on this bad 2006 Pujols World Series jersey isn't going nuts. As time goes by, collectors seem to be catching on to suspect characteristics. In the case of this jersey, not only is the hem wrong and the year tag missing, but the alignment of the "5" on front is too far to the right (as discussed on this thread). Compare the eBay jersey with those worn by Albert in games three, four and five of the Series.

August 17, 2008. Lohse used a black Rawlings bat today. He's now used six different types/finishes of bat this season, both ash and maple -- LS ash (natural and black); LS M9 (natural); Rawlings (natural and black); and Marucci (natural). It's rare to see a pitcher use so many different bats... At one point today, five guys in the lineup were swinging Rawlings -- Ludwick, Glaus, Ankiel, Kennedy and Lohse.

August 19, 2008. Miles was using a heavily flamed LS ash bat tonight, similar to the one LaRue has used this season... The name on the back of Felipe Lopez's uniform is still spaced a bit differently than normal, suggesting he's still wearing the same jersey from his first Cardinals home stand.

August 20, 2008. Todd Wellemeyer used a flame treated LS ash bat tonight, a departure from his typical black LS... I heard from a reader that the Cardinals Authentics store at Busch had several game-used items marked down 50 percent at tonight's game. No big names (mostly minor league guys from the spring), but some jerseys could be had for $100, BP shirts for $75. I'll be at Friday's game; will check to see if the sale is still going on.

August 22, 2008. The Authentics Store sale was still going on tonight. Because most of the inventory was minor leaguers and spring roster cuts, it looked like few things had sold. A Brian Anderson shirt was scratched off the list; other than that, I didn't see anything that demanded acquisition... The only game-used item at the auction kiosks was a spring Aaron Miles signed Cool Base jersey. It was at $200 before the first pitch. I didn't stick around to see where it ended.

August 23, 2008. Nothing new today, equpiment-wise... I'm sure there were several guys who dreaded that ninth inning rain delay, considering Bruce Springsteen's show was scheduled to start at 7:30. The game eventually ended about 6:30. I didn't see LaRussa's post-game press conference, but I bet it was a short one.

August 24, 2008. I don't know what time Pujols left the Springsteen concert last night (it ended after midnight), but attending the show certainly didn't affect his hot tear. He homered in the first inning and ended the series hitting .800 with four walks and two dingers... LaRussa also attended the Boss' show. Not sure who else from the team was there, but you can bet a few guys found their way down the street. Those who did saw an amazing 3:20 show. Any player who claims to be too tired to play a day game after a night game needs to watch the almost 59-year-old Springsteen grind it out on stage. NOTE: Albert apparently did not attend the show as planned. Perhaps he was well-rested after all.

August 26, 2008. Finally, a new bat sighting. Aaron Miles used a natural ash Rawlings tonight. It's the first time since he joined the Cards that I've seen him use Rawlings... Came across an interesting bat today. It's a Pujols model, but the handle tape, pine tar and knob numbers suggest it also was used by Wilson Delgado in 2003. The interesting part is what's visible under the blacked-out area on the knob. You can clearly see Albert's 5, the word "GAME" and a precise measurement of 4-1 1/5. The "GAME" and the exact weight notation suggest this was one of Albert's favored bats before Delgado adopted it. It's the first time I've seen one of his "GAME" bats also used by a teammate.

August 27, 2008. Josh Phelps made his Cardinals debut wearing #33. He used a natural ash LS... Two days, two interesting bat finds. I recently bought a Tino Martinez bat because I thought it might be a Pujols gamer. When it arrived today, I was thrilled to see a 5 on the barrel end. Even better, there appears to be a 5 and "Pujols" written on the knob above and below Tino's 21. The bat has Albert's tar pattern and all the ball marks are on the right-hand hitter's side. It also has red rack scrapes and other positive characteristics. The blacked-out numbers and the "R205" written on both ends suggest it later was used as a team bat. But, the previous markings leave little doubt that Albert wielded this bat at some point. For the record, this is the fourth Tino Martinez bat I've owned or handled that had evidence of being used by Pujols.

August 29, 2008. Kyle Lohse used a black LS M9 tonight. It's the seventh different type of bat he's used this season -- four brands with various finishes... There are two Musial bats on eBay currently. A 1960 Adirondack goes off tonight. Looks like it could be legit, though I'm curious why there's no #6 on the knob. The practice of players writing their numbers on knobs was pretty common by 1960. Still, looks to be a nice bat. A 1940s-era contract model LS also is for sale, though it has a slight problem. The seller says the bat is 35 1/16" long, but Musial's records show no orders for M117 models longer than 34.5" until 1952. I suspect this is a team index bat.

August 30, 2008. Nothing new, equipment-wise... Anybody else notice how the grey Cool Base jerseys don't seem to be holding up well? I've discussed the sagging placket problems before. Now, it seems repeated wear and washing causes the armpit vents to discolor. It would be kind to call the color light gray; it would be more accurate to call it yellowish.

August 31, 2008. Among the potential September call ups are catcher Mark Johnson, pitchers Jason Motte and Josh Kinney, and infielders Brian Barden and Brendan Ryan. Kinney (52) and Ryan (13) almost surely will get their old numbers back. Barden, who was #62 last season, will need new digits. Newcomers Johnson and Motte also will need numbers. Johnson was #53 in the spring -- that's now available with John Rodriguez's departure. Motte, who was 64 in the spring, will need something different.