Blog: June 2009

June 1, 2009. There are many games where I see nothing new and wonder, "What am I going to write about this one?" Then there are games like tonight. In the first inning alone, Rasmus used a Controlling the Game bat -- unusual, but not unprecedented. Two batters later, Duncan swung a Gwynn-finished X-Bat, something completely new. Next up was Ankiel, employing a natural Old Hickory.

June 2, 2009. I've noticed commercials the past couple of nights advertising that the jerseys the team wore on Jackie Robinson Day 2009 will be offered via a promotion with Mobil On the Run convenience centers. Just as they did last year, fans can purchase raffle tickets at local stores and win the shirts. Funds raised by the promotion will be shared by Cardinals Care and the Jackie Robinson Foundation.

June 3, 2009. Molina apparently has abandoned his Cool Flo batting helmet. During tonight's game, he was wearing a shiny, new, standard batting helmet... Brendan Ryan put away his Marucci and was swinging a Gwynn-finished X-Bat... Blaine Boyer used a black ash Louisville Slugger for his first Cardinals plate appearance.

June 4, 2009. Carpenter used a Gwynn-finished M9 Louisville Slugger tonight... Molina was using a Marucci... The commercial for the Jackie Robinson Day jerseys shows a ticket with $5 noted in the corner. Last year, tickets were $1 each and six for $5. If anyone has purchased a ticket yet, could you please contact me and let me know if the price is now $5 per ticket? There are no Mobil on the Run locations anywhere near where I live.

June 5, 2009. The Mark Mulder era has officially ended; his #30 finally has been reassigned. Jess Todd made his MLB debut tonight wearing Mulder's former digits... Tyler Greene is back in the show and swinging a black ash LS. I noticed there are no logos on the sweet spot or on the back. A closer look at the barrel revealed it is a pro stock model (thanks, HDTV).

June 6, 2009. As quickly as he arrived, Jess Todd was dispatched to Memphis and Blake Hawksworth was summoned to make his Cardinals debut. Hawksworth is wearing #53, which was last worn (briefly) by Mark Johnson last season... Tyler Green broke his LS pro stock model, then ended up using a natural Marucci and a black Rawlings -- making him a member of the exclusive "used three different companies' bats in one game" club.

June 7, 2009. Brendan Ryan shared a souvenir with a fan the hard way, flinging his Gwynn-finished X-Bat into the stands during an at-bat... Came across another 1997 Labor Day jersey (see the 5/25/09 entry), this one worn by Gary Gaetti. But, Gary's jersey does not have the French version of the Jackie Robinson patch; it has the proper English version. Seems Rawlings simply used whatever patches were within reach when assembling these shirts.

June 8, 2009. I attended the annual Ritenour High School card show and auction on Saturday. While it's great that the Cardinals now sell game-used items at the stadium, making them available to a broad fan base, the merchandising strategy has hit small fund-raisers like Ritenour's hard. There was a time when Ritenour's auctions featured several game used bats, jerseys, caps, cletes, batting gloves and more. It was an event every collector wanted to attend. This year, the used items included a Rasmus bat ($310), a 2007 Rolen bat ($120), a Wainwright BP shirt (auto, $210), a Wainwright bat (auto, $150-ish) and a handful of caps and batting gloves. Those items would be a boon for most school fund-raisers. But at Ritenour, I fear it's a sign that, after two decades, the show's end is near. And that's a shame.

June 9, 2009. I finally picked up a raffle ticket for the Jackie Robinson Day jerseys. Here's the deal: There are $1 tickets and $5 tickets (that count as six entries) being sold at Mobil on the Run locations. After you buy the ticket, you have to go online, fill out a form and enter the ticket's code. That's better than filling out multiple raffle tickets at the store, but I hope it's not an issue for people who aren't computer savvy or don't have internet access. Anyway, people can enter through July 5 and winning tickets will be drawn July 14. Those winners also will get two tickets to the July 28 game against Los Angeles. At that game, they will draw names out of hat to determine which jerseys they win and will receive the signed jerseys after the game. Good luck!

June 10, 2009. Rasmus didn't use three different brands like Tyler Greene did on 6/6, but he did use at least three different bats tonight -- a natural LS ash, a black LS ash and a Gwynn-finished X-Bat. It's unusual to see someone on a hot streak like Rasmus switch bats with any frequency. Then there's Pujols, who hasn't strayed from his Marucci bat during his recent dry spell. There was a time, not so long ago, when a Albert would be switching bats often in search of a slump buster.

June 11, 2009. I got a look today at the National and American League batting practice jerseys for the upcoming All-Star Game. Kudos to the designers for incorporating a local flair into the designs -- the Arch, the bat from the birds-0n-bat logo and the font style. But, who approved the powder blue accent on the NL jerseys? Navy would have looked great, but light blue and red do not belong together. Never have, never will. I realize Victory Blue throwbacks are popular with some fans, but these jerseys are just atrocious. Not that I have a strong opinion or anything.

June 12, 2009. Molina stopped wearing his Cool Flo batting helmet at home, but I noticed tonight he's still wearing Cool Flo on the road... Yadi also has switched back to using a Sam Bat... Stavinoha was using a black Marucci tonight.

June 13, 2009. The team wore 1988 throwbacks during today's game, and while they weren't perfect, they're a vast improvement compared to the past couple of TBTC games. Most importantly, these jerseys featured an embroidered birds-on-bat logo, not a cheap patch. And it actually was the 1988-era logo, not the current one. Though it's tough to be sure, it looks like they went with the correct numbers on the front of the jersey, though they are positioned a bit too far to the right. Jerseys worn before 1997 had larger numbers than those worn today. I also was glad the team brought along red caps to wear with the throwbacks. Some things could have been better. For example, the neck and sleeve trim looked to be the same size. To match 1988 jerseys, the neck trim should have been narrower and the sleeve trim should have been wider. The navy batting helmets were disappointing. And, of course, the pajama pants were completely wrong. Perhaps my biggest beef is the size of these unis. Baggy is good if you're replicating the Gas House Gang uniforms, but we're talking 1988. These unis don't need to be skin tight, but they were way too large -- to the point where I wonder if the huge necks and long sleeves bothered the players. Overall, I give these throwbacks a C+. Not great, but much better than the recent TBTCs worn in San Diego and Milwaukee.

June 14, 2009. Hunt Auctions is running the All-Star week auction at America's Center and items for that event are now available to be viewed online. Two lots of particular interest include Mark McGwire's 1999 ASG jersey and a 2001 Albert Pujols jersey. The McGwire jersey is interesting because the ASG patch is on the left sleeve. Photos of McGwire show the patch on his right sleeve and nothing on his left. And the Pujols rookie jersey is way off -- wrong fonts, bad letter/number placement, no custom hem and more. I've contacted both Hunt and MEARS and they've replied that they'll look into those shirts.

June 16, 2009. Molina again is wearing his Cool Flo batting helmet at home... Thurston was one of the few players to use the same model bat all season. But, he broke his streak tonight, choosing a Gwynn-finished B-45 bat over his typical Sam Bat... Ryan, Schumaker and Rasmus followed each other using the same model, a Gwynn X-Bat.

June 17, 2009. Jason Motte had his first AB of the season. His natural LS ash bat appeared to be his personal (non-contract) model, complete with his #60 on the knob... Not only do I believe the 2001 Pujols jersey in Hunt's ASG auction is not authentic (see 6/14/09 entry), but I checked with the Cardinals and the Cardinals Care LOA inventory number doesn't match. The number belongs to another player's jersey that was auctioned at the stadium in late 2005. Buyer beware.

June 18, 2009. Piñeiro was using a Gwynn-finished LS M9 tonight, his third different brand this season... Rasmus was using a visually appealing LS ash with a flame finish... In addition to the questionable 2001 Pujols jersey in Hunt's ASG auction, there are two more lots that need to be revisited. The Red Schoendienst fungo bat is billed as a 1970s era bat, but it has the team name on the barrel, dating it to 1991 or later. I'm sure the authenticators were thrown by the center brand; Red's bats are still made using that old label... Also, their 1948 Ray Yochim jersey most likely is a minor league shirt and may actually have been worn by his brother, Len. Among the inconsistencies -- it was made by Wilson (Cardinals jerseys of the era were made by Rawlings); it has buttons (should have a zipper); there's no chain stitching; and Yochim wore #39, not #18. I've notified Hunt about these issues... Hunt did revise the 1999 McGwire ASG jersey to note that it does not match the jersey Mark wore in the game.

June 19, 2009. Molina has switched batting helmets again, option for a regular road lid instead of a Cool Flo... The Cardinals Web site has a Pujols spring training BP jersey available via auction through Sunday. The problem is, I can't find any photos of Pujols wearing a standard BP jersey during the spring or regular season. He favors a lightweight pullover jacket with a partial zipper front and navy short sleeves. Even when every other player is in a regular BP shirt, he seems to be doing his own thing. If you have a shot of Pujols wearing a BP jersey that was taken in 2009, I'd love to see it.

June 20, 2009. If you've always wanted a Stan Musial game-used bat, here's your chance. I'm offering one of mine for sale. It's a 1953 signed and uncracked Louisville Slugger. This is one of the first M159 models ever turned, which is noteworthy since Musial and the M159 are synonymous. Please contact me if you're interested.

June 21, 2009. The team wore blue ribbons on their jerseys and blue wristbands in recognition of prostate cancer awareness and Father's Day. They didn't match the Cards well, but sure looked good on Kansas City's powder blue alternate jerseys... Yadier Molina is back to using Marucci bats.

June 22, 2009. Still waiting for Hunt Auctions to pull the 2001 Pujols jersey and either pull or edit the description for the 1948 Yochim shirt (see the 6/17 and 6/18 entries)... The Pujols BP jersey I mentioned on 6/19 sold for more than $2,000... Yadi is back to Sam Bat tonight.

June 23, 2009. I've added a couple links to the left. One is to Game Used Universe, a great site full of information for memorabilia collectors. I post there often. The other link will take you to my current eBay auctions. I have 16 bats listed at the moment -- bid early and bid often... I've also added a Google search bar that is supposed to search this site, but it doesn't seem to work well. For example, a query for "Pujols" returned six hits. I'll try to figure out what's wrong.

June 24, 2009. Interesting note from the Post-Dispatch, courtesy of Derrick Goold: "La Russa received a memento from his 2,500th career victory, which came Sunday in Kansas City. Albert Pujols autographed his game-used bat with gold pen and wrote out his stats from the day -- six RBIs, two homers. But the bat was not the one he used to hit either of the homers; it was the one that cracked on a single. 'It's got some character,' La Russa said. 'It will go up at ARF (offices), next to Bruce Springsteen's guitar.'"

June 25, 2009. The 2001 Pujols jersey offered in Hunt Auction's upcoming ASG auction has been withdrawn. Kudos to Hunt for making the call on that one. Bidding already had passed $2,100... Two of the three pink bats used by Cardinals on Mother's Day are now at auction on MLB.com. Khalil Green's Old Hickory, used for two ABs, is offered, as is the bat Rasmus used in his first four ABs. Based on the condition, it's clear now why he used a black bat for his last plate appearance. Schumaker's X-Bat is not part of this auction.

June 26, 2009. I was contacted by Hunt regarding the 2001 Pujols jersey. Seems it wasn't rejected on its own merits; it was pulled because they checked with Cardinals Care and the LOA turned out to be bogus.

June 27, 2009. I noticed Schumaker was using a different bat today. He almost always uses an X-Bat, but today's bat had a Rawlings logo... Today was "Jersey off the Back" day at Busch, which means somebody out there has a new Pujols jersey and could have paid as little as $1. Anybody get lucky?... Josh Kinney got an AB today and used an unfinished ash LS... I have several items listed for sale on the Game Used Universe site. If you want something, contact me using the subject line "DISCOUNT" and I'll give you 15% off listed prices and pay your shipping.

June 28, 2009. The Cardinals have shipped Chris Perez off to Cleveland in exchange for Mark DeRosa. Mark is wearing #7, the number Joe Mather wore during most of spring training. Joe's season-ending wrist surgery made #7 available for DeRosa, who has worn that digit with his last three teams (the Indians, Cubs and Rangers) and also as a rookie with the Braves. How convenient... DeRosa's jersey is unusual in that the "e" in DeRosa is subscript (50% as high as the other letters and positioned on the baseline). Players with similar names have other treatments. For example, all of the letters in Jason LaRue's surname are the same height and there's a space between the "A" and the "R" (Tony LaRussa gets the same treatment). Kyle McClellan, on the other hand, has a superscript "c" for his second letter (50% as high and positioned even with the top of the other letters). Consistency, anyone?... DeRosa was using an all-black LS M9 bat, which is strange because maple bats are no longer allowed to be all black. I couldn't tell if he'd covered a bare handle in black tape, or if the bat truly was all black. Hope to get a better look next time out.

June 29, 2009. Clayton Mortensen made his MLB debut tonight wearing #54, a number made available by the release of Blaine Boyer. Mortensen also got an AB; he used a natural ash LS... Duncan is using Carolina Clubs again... I didn't get much response from my post on 6/27 regarding the items I've listed for sale on the Game Used Universe site, so let's sweeten the deal. If you want something, contact me using the subject line "DISCOUNT" and I'll give you 25% off listed prices and pay your shipping. Currently, only collectors who read this site qualify for the discount.

June 30, 2009. I asked Brian Hillerich at H&B what the deal was with DeRosa's all-black maple bat. His reply was, "Um, I don't know what you are talking about; all bats made by Hillerich & Bradsby are made in compliance with the new MLB rules ; )." Emphasis on the winking smiley face at the end.