Blog: Off season 2008-09

October 1, 2008. Here are the final stats on Albert for the 2008 season: He had 641 total plate appearances (PA) and used Marucci bats for 640 (99.84 percent) of them. His only other PA was with a black Sam Bat. Of his Marucci bats, he used the Gwynn finish for 622 PAs; he used a black bat for the remaining 18 PAs. Albert hit .362/36 HR with the Gwynn Marucci; .200/1 HR with the black Marucci; and was 0-1 with Sam Bat... The collection of nine 2004 Cardinals bats (see 9/21/08 entry) has been sold as a group, pending payment. Thanks to everyone for your interest.

October 2, 2008. If you're a Jason Simontacchi fan, do I have a collection for you. I am selling (on consignment) a group of items that includes: a 2003 spring training home jersey, signed with MLB hologram and team LOA; a baseball card that is a style (and likely photo) match; a GU cap with team LOA; GU cleats from Cardinals Care (no LOA); a signed GU bat; and a signed 8x10 photo in a rigid sleeve. You can have it all for only $350. If you're interested, let me know... Here's an interesting article regarding a 1962 Bob Gibson road flannel from the MEARS Web site. The simple lesson: If a '62 has no evidence of a name on back, it can't be considered a used, regular-season jersey. As you may know, 1962 was the first year the Cards had NOB and numbers on the front of their jerseys.

October 8, 2008. RIP, George Kissell. You were the best... With the passing of the legendary Mr. Kissell, it's a pretty safe bet we'll be seeing some kind of tribute patch on the 2009 uniform. Of course, the team already will be wearing the All-Star Game patch, so both sleeves will be filled. Since spring training is four months away, the team has time to be creative with Kissell's patch. Here are two ideas: Instead of the typical black circle, how about using the shape of an apple? After all, that's the "international symbol" for teachers, right? And there was no better teacher than Kissell. Or, how about the shape of lips, suggesting a kiss for Kissell? If you have any ideas, let me know. Maybe we can get the attention of the right people and feed them some creative ideas... The price of the Simontacchi collection (see 10/2/08) has been lowered to $300 plus shipping. Contact me if you're interested.

January 19, 2009. Ok, I've had enough of a break from this site. At least that's what I heard from a few of you this weekend at the Winter Warm Up. So, here are some random thoughts about our annual Cardinals orgy... Attendance seemed to be way down this year, a likely product of the economy, a fourth-place finish and a perceived lack of personnel activity this winter... The auctions also seemed to suffer. I saw signed, game-used jerseys being hammered at minimum bids, which I've never seen before. I accidently won a 2007 road Looper shirt, thinking someone surely would beat me. I never win silent auctions at the WWU, but I did this time around. I saw a few signed jerseys selling for half of what the Authentics store was asking for the same player's unsigned jersey 10 feet away from the auction area... The Cardinals Care "store" had loads of jerseys from the past 3-4 years for $75 each. Few seemed to sell until they were discounted the last day. Of course, most of the jerseys belonged to "no-name" guys who never made the spring training cut. There also were several shirts that showed no use at all... The "store" didn't have a single bat for sale this year. Finding broken bat "treasures" for $25-40 used to be the highlight of my weekend.

January 20, 2009. More thoughts about the Winter Warm Up... I saw at least three jerseys at the silent auction that didn't live up to their billing. One was supposed to be a LaRussa game-used jersey, but it was a "repurposed" 2000 Rawlings jersey with LaRussa's name sewn directly to the back. It clearly was made up to be signed. I hope the buyer doesn't think he/she has an actual Tony gamer. Two other jerseys were from spring training, though not identified that way... Neither Pujols bat in the live auctions had his name on the barrel. A black 2006 Sam Bat sold for $2,300, but an almost identical bat from 2005 sold for just $1,000. I could see it was a Molina bat with the name blacked out. A Cool Base Pujols spring training shirt sold for $1,800 and a Pujols pre-game jersey sold for $1,000. None of El Hombre's items was signed.

January 21, 2009. Rummaging through jerseys at the Cardinals Care "store" can be an enlightening experience. I know we try to make jersey authentication a science, but there are many exceptions to the rules. For example, I saw two 2001 jerseys with the post-9/11 flags on the back collar. Each had "Set 1, 2001" flags, but one shirt had a 1999 Rawlings tag. At some point, the 1999 flag was removed and a 2001 flag was added. I can't imagine why... On those same shirts, one name plate had quite a bit of excess material beyond the lettering, something the team had pretty much stopped doing in the mid '90s... I also saw jerseys with year flags removed, and jerseys where both the red and navy stitching of the letters and numbers was visible inside the shirt. Typically, only the navy stitching is visible.

February 13, 2009. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Colby Rasmus will wear #28 this spring. I find that interesting because #28 was one of the few numbers that went unassigned in 2008. Could it be they already had it reserved for Rasmus, assuming he'd be called up, but injuries prevented it?... Chris Perez will trade his #63 for a less-rookie-like #34. That had been Randy Flores' number... Among the newcomers, Khalil Green will wear #3 (last worn by Izturis); Royce Ring will wear #40 (Percival in '07, unassigned in '08); Trever Miller has #43 (Encarnacion); and Joe Thurston has #65 (Parisi). I predict Thurston will make the team and wear #7 on opening day. Remember you read it here first... Among the minor leaguers, David Freese will be #66, a promotion from #90 last spring; Tyler Greene will wear #67; and Brett Wallace will don Rasmus' old #84.

February 15, 2009. The MLB Network today featured the game in which Mark Whiten hit four homeruns and drove in 12 runs against the Reds in 1993. I've always wanted to see this game because I was living in Chicago at the time. As I'd seen in photos, Whiten was using a Galen-finished Louisville Slugger. But no photo ever captured this -- the number on Whiten's knob is #18. Mark was #22. I don't know if he was using a Luis Alicea bat or whether it was one of Whiten's bats with Alicea's number on the knob. I assume that particular piece of lumber is safely stored somewhere in Cooperstown.

February 16, 2009. Photos of Pujols' first swings at spring training show him using a Rawlings bat in the cage. This shot from the Post-Dispatch shows not only is it a Rick Ankiel model, but it has a different logo on the center brand. The banner below the "R" is difficult to read. I thought it might be noting some kind of anniversary, but a search of Rawlings' Web site doesn't mention 2009 being a special date in company history. It looks like a long word possibly followed by the word "pro." I'm sure we'll know soon enough.

February 25, 2009. Well, so much for my predictions. I figured Joe Thurston would end up with Kennedy's old #7, but the Post-Dispatch reports that Joe Mather now has adopted that number... So far, 26 bat companies have been approved to supply bats for MLB teams in 2009. They include: Akadema, B45, Bones Bats, BWP, Carolina Clubs, Controlling the Game (CTG), D-Bat, Dinger, Easton, Hoosier, H&B, M^Powered, Marucci, Max Bat, Mizuno, Nike, Nokona, Old Hickory, Phoenix, Rawlings, Sam Bat, Sargent, SSK, Superior (A-Bat), Trinity Bat and X-Bat. Three other manufacturers -- America's Bat Co., Hard-Sports and Zett -- are provisional suppliers awaiting full approval. I believe 32 companies were approved in 2008, so a few labels have disappeared. Among the MIA on this list are Diablo and Zinger.

March 19, 2009. The Cards didn't play on St. Patrick's Day, so no green unis this year... Molina was spotted wearing a Cool Flow batting helmet during yesterday's televised game... Rumors have circulated that knit jerseys were out and that Cool Base shirts would be the only jersey option in 2009. So far, though, Pujols seems to be wearing only knit jerseys... It's been reported that players in minor league camp are wearing a tribute patch for George Kissell, but no photos have surfaced to date.

March 20, 2009. Last weekend, I acquired a collection of 50 bats from a former Busch grounds crew member. With a few exceptions, they date from 1999-2001. Players represented include Pujols (2), Edmonds, Rolen (3), Drew (3), Kile, Renteria and more. I'll eventually get around to taking photos and listing them for sale -- but if you can't wait, drop me a line and let me know what you're interested in.