Blog: August 2009

August 1 , 2009. There currently are nine All-Star Game press pins available on eBay. More than 30 already have sold. The first ones out there fetched well more than $100 each, but more recent sales are in the $60-70 range... Haven't heard about any great Cardinals-related finds at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Cleveland this week. If you went to the National and saw anything of interest, please let me know.

August 2 , 2009. A collection of 12 items from Bob Gibson's personal collection were auctioned last Thursday evening by Legendary Auctions. Among the highlights: Gibson's 1968 MVP award sold for $120,000; his '68 Cy Young Award went for $84,000; at $57,000, his 2006 WS ring went for more than his '67 ring ($54,000) or his HOF ring ($30,000); Gibson's HOF plaque sold for $45,000; and the only game-used item, a fielding glove, sold for $9,000... Just a reminder -- if a Pujols bat doesn't have a model number on the barrel, it cannot be considered a game-issued (or game-used) bat. This bat is a perfect example of a bat that was made to be signed, not used. If it truly has traces of pine tar and rack scrapes, somebody at some point was up to no good.

August 4, 2009. Ankiel used his blue-ringed Rawlings again tonight for one AB... Rasmus seems to be switching between a natural LS M9 and a black Controlling the Game bat. Not unusual for a struggling player to search for a bat that "has hits in it." Pujols used to do that, but he stuck with his Marucci stick throughout his most recent cold streak. He certainly seemed to be back on his game tonight.

August 5, 2009. Holliday broke his black LS ash bat during his first AB. I thought he might break out a new brand, but he answered with another black LS ash. It almost looks like his bats have gold foil stamping instead of the normal silver, though that could just be the pine tar... I've listed the 1958 Musial and the 1974 Brock bats on eBay. If you skipped over it, details and links are at the top of the column. I also have listed an Ozzie Smith batting glove, circa 1985, and a 2007 signed Gary Bennett home batting helmet.

August 7, 2009. Since there's nothing new with bats and uniforms, I decided to look at batting gloves tonight. Most players seem to be using Nike gloves; they include Pujols, Ryan, DeRosa, Holliday, Ludwick, Rasmus and Greene. Three guys were wearing Franklin gloves: Carpenter, Molina and Lugo. Ankiel is wearing Reebok and Schumaker uses Louisville Slugger/TPX.

August 8, 2009. Brendan Ryan has added a Gwynn-finished Marucci bat to his arsenal... Noticed today that Thurston also is using Nike batting gloves. Wainwright is wearing Mizuno gloves.

August 9, 2009. Ryan Ludwick is now the second player (along with DeRosa) who is swinging an all-black bat with a small, natural "window" on the handle. Ludwick uses Rawlings while DeRosa swings LS M9. Apparently, there must be some caveat in the new bat rules that allows black maple bats, as long as there's a bare spot where the slope can be evaluated... Ludwick swings two kinds of Gwynn-finished Rawlings maple bats -- some with gold bands/lettering and some with silver.

August 10, 2009. When is a style match not a style match? Here's a good example of someone suggesting his item -- a pair of Pujols batting gloves -- can be matched to a photo. I found the photo on Getty Images and when viewed in a larger format, it doesn't seem to be a match. A photo taken the next day makes it clear that the gloves are not the same style... Here's an example of a batting glove style match I can live with. Yes, that's my Ozzie glove. Bid early, bid often. I also have a Gary Bennett batting helmet on the Bay... I've never seen one of these before. Glad to see the seller isn't trying to sell it as a Pujols gamer.

August 11, 2009. Shaq made a visit to Busch tonight and threw out the first pitch. Wonder what size that jersey was? I heard his bat was 37" long.

August 12, 2009. Finally got a good look at DeRosa's barrel on his two-tone LS M9. It does, indeed, have "St. Louis Cardinals" under his name.

August 14, 2009. I think Lugo has been using the same bat since joining the Cards -- until tonight when it broke. He replaced it with another Mizuno, same finish.

August 15, 2009. Thurston used a black ash Louisville Slugger, a departure from his typical Sam Bat... I noticed Piñeiro's Marucci logo is white. So is Lohse's logo. Position players, including Pujols, seem to have gold logos on their Gwynn-finished bats. Wonder if there's a reason for that.

August 16, 2009. Nothing of note during the game.

August 17, 2009. Nothing of note during the game... If you're looking for a great Bob Gibson bat, check out this auction.

August 18, 2009. Holliday used a black Marucci for a couple of ABs tonight. Marucci bats are maple, but I didn't see a "test window" on his bat.

August 19, 2009. Ok, I took some time off and fell behind on the blog updates. But, I've now watched all the games and taken notes. The entries from 8/12 through 8/19 were all posted today. They are very short because, frankly, not much happened... John Smoltz will wear uniform #30 when he joins the team in San Diego. Rumor has it that Carpenter offered to give up his #29 for a nominal fee. #30 became available with Jess Todd's trade to Cleveland.

August 20, 2009. Click on "Notes and Articles" to read a piece I posted today about Pujols and Max Bat. Or, if you prefer the executive summary, here it is: If a Pujols Max Bat is a Model C4, it's a fake. Period... The Cardinals Authentics shop is selling folding chairs used at Busch during the All Star Game. You can buy them in pairs online, or you can buy them individually at the stadium on game days... Five of the starting nine tonight used Gwynn-finished Marucci bats, including Rasmus (for the first time that I've noticed). Pujols' and Molina's bats had gold bands and logos; Ryan's, Rasmus' and Piñeiro's bats had white bands and logos.

August 21, 2009. Holliday was swinging a natural Sam Bat tonight. That's five different brands in the short time he's been with the Redbirds... Thurston joined the Marucci club by using a Gwynn-finished one as a pinch hitter. I wonder how many of these guys would be using Marucci if Pujols was still swinging Sam Bat or Louisville Slugger. Reminds me of all the guys who used Rawlings when McGwire was with the team.

August 22, 2009. Nothing of note today... If you had any interest in my 1953 Stan Musial bat, you're too late. It is sold, pending payment.

August 23, 2009. John Smoltz made his Cardinals debut today wearing #30. He swung a natural, unfinished ash Louisville Slugger.

August 25, 2009. Cards' 2009 first-round pick Shelby Miller threw at Busch this afternoon. He wore a red pre-game jersey with #09 on the back. This is consistent with last season, when top pick Brett Wallace took BP at Busch with #08 on his back. I wonder if next year's top draft choice will have the same number as the manager, or whether he'll be the only guy on the field wearing #10.

August 26, 2009. DeRosa used a black LS ash bat tonight. It's the first time I've noticed him using an ash bat instead of maple... Once again, five of the nine starters were using Marucci bats. DeRosa (LS), Ankiel (Rawlings), Holliday (Sam Bat) and Schumaker (X-Bat) were the nonconformists.

August 27, 2009. Gee, how many things are wrong with this McGwire bat on eBay? Well, the tar on the grip is wrong -- too clean near the knob, too uniform where it's gripped; the tar on the centerbrand doesn't extend far enough up the barrel; the die used to stamp the numbers in the knob is too large; Mac didn't write 25 on the knobs of his Cardinals bats; and the font on the barrel is consistent with 1999 and later -- a different font was used in 1998 (the A and R in MARK are where you can really see the difference). I guess the better question is, what's right with this bat?

August 28, 2009. A Pujols Diablo bat showed up on eBay today as a one-day auction. Though the seller says, "I got the bat from a player in the Cardinals minor league camp," I think it's more likely he bought it on eBay from another seller -- who ironically also got it from a player in the Cardinals minor league camp. Integrity? What's that?

August 29, 2009. A new batting helmet, the Rawlings S100, will be required in the minor leagues next season and will be optional equipment for major leaguers this September. The new helmet is larger and has more padding. It also is about 50 percent heavier than today's standard helmet. However, it will absorb the impact of a 100-mph pitch; standard helmets are rated at 70 mph. I'll be keeping an eye out to see if any Redbirds are early adopters of the new lid.

August 30, 2009. I often mention the Authentic Store at Busch Stadium in this blog, but many readers from out of town likely have never seen the store itself. So, I took a few photos to give you an idea how the team markets its game-used items. Of course, they sell cracked bats and jerseys. There also are plenty of bases, baseballs and pennants behind the counter. Inside the case, there are caps, pants and other items. There usually is a batting helmet or two available. A case of autographed items takes up an entire wall. And special pieces, like these All-Star Game chairs (used in general seating areas of the park), often find their way into the shop.