Blog: May 2009

May 1, 2009. Pujols used only Marucci bats during April. Except for three plate appearances, they all had a Gwynn finish and a fairly heavy coat of brown pine tar on the upper handle. Using the natural-finished Marucci, he was 1 for 2 with a walk... Thurston hit his first MLB home run tonight using a Gwynn-finished Sam Bat.

May 2, 2009. Rasmus became the second Redbird in two days to hit his first MLB home run. Though he's used Louisville Slugger all season to this point, today Rasmus switched to what I believe is Brendan Ryan's natural Marucci... Ludwick was using an all-black Rawlings. I couldn't tell if it had the new logo or the old, but I'm leaning toward new -- which would make it an ash bat.

May 3, 2009. Rain out.

May 4, 2009. I noticed Ludwick's Rawlings bat has a gold band. Until now, his bats have had silver bands... Saw a Lohse bat up close today and guess what? Marucci spelled his name wrong. Ouch... Also saw a Thurston Sam Bat up close. It didn't have the Cardinals name on the barrel like most Sam Bats do. I guess they were manufactured before Super Joe made the squad.

May 5, 2009. Took my son to the game tonight and achieved a first -- snagged a Pujols BP home run. Ok, maybe "snagged" isn the right word. It hit a section over, bounced around, deflected off another guy's hands and rolled down a couple steps where I picked it up. No style points, but it didn't matter; it made my son's day... After the game started, out of almost 37,000 people in the park, my son Michael and his friend, Nathan, were picked to move from our top row seats to the Stub Hub recliners. I should have bought a lottery ticket on the way home.

May 6, 2009. I picked up a Colby Rasmus game-used bat from the team. It's a black Louisville Slugger ash bat, model B363, good use with a minor handle crack and some barrel grain separation. If you're interested in it, I'm asking $320 shipped. I've seen a few Rasmus bats on eBay, but this is the first I've seen that has a team LOA. If you want it, let me know... Happy 12th birthday, Michael!

May 7, 2009. Shane Robinson was called up to replace Ankiel on the roster. He wore #33 and used an unfinished ash Louisville Slugger... Khalil Greene was using a natural Rawlings today.

May 8, 2009. Robinson switched to a black ash LS bat tonight... Mother's Day is Sunday, so be on the lookout for pink bats.

May 9, 2009. I have three interesting items available in what I'll call a "past, present and future" sale. The oldest item is a 1932 Billy Southworth bat. The bat is in tough shape (cracked and repaired), but Southworth bats are rare and now in demand since his election to the HOF. Here are photos of the barrel, center brand, knob, end, LH and RH hitting sides, and the whole bat. The seller is asking $325 shipped... The "current" item is Jim Edmonds' 2006 road World Series jersey. It doesn't show heavy wear, but it came straight out of the locker room. Here are shots of the front, back, tail tags, laundry tag and WS patch. Price available upon request... The last item is a game-used bat from future star Brett Wallace. It's from spring training and may be the only Wallace bat to date to hit the market with a Cardinals LOA. The bat is pounded with use, caked in tar and has a slight handle crack. It's $300 shipped... If you're interested in any of these items, let me know. Also, the Rasmus game-used bat mentioned on 5/6 is still available.

May 10, 2009. Today marks what I believe is the fifth year of players using pink bats on Mother's Day. Unfortunately, there wasn't much participation from the Redbirds. I don't know which players actually received pink bats, but the only ones who used them during today's game were Schumaker (all four ABs), Rasmus (his first four ABs before switching to black) and Khalil Greene (his first two ABs before going back to his natural bat). Skip used an X-Bat, Colby a Louisville Slugger and Khalil an Old Hickory... All players wore pink ribbons on their jerseys. Most wore pink wristbands, but Albert did not.

May 12, 2009. Most collectors who search for photos on the Internet know about Getty Images, Icon Sports Media and Corbis. They're familiar with STL Today's photo archives and mlb.com's photo gallery. They also know how to search on Google and Yahoo (including Google's great new Life Magazine archives). There are a few sites, though, that I think are hidden gems to many collectors. One is Steve's Baseball Photography, which is packed with rich photos, mostly from the '60s and '70s. Another is Check Out My Cards, where you can click on and view thousands of baseball cards. For older cards, check out Vintage Card Prices. And last but not least is Daylife, which aggregates photos from several sources, including AP, Getty and more.

May 13, 2009. Nick Stavinoha was called up to replace the injured Ryan Ludwick. Stavinoha is wearing #19... I couldn't tell what bat Stavinoha was using when he pinch hit, but the thin band is similar to what you'd see on a B45... The Edmonds WS jersey (from the 5/9 post) is sold.

May 14, 2009. Kyle McClellan got an at-bat tonight and used a Gwynn-finished LS M9... Tyler Greene switched to a Gwynn-finished Marucci from his natural bat... I still can't put my finger on Stavinoha's bat. I got a momentary look at the center brand during his one AB tonight and now am thinking it could be a Phoenix bat.

May 15, 2009. It's a shame this one got rained out because Rasmus looks like he's starting to get into a groove... The Cardinals Care stadium auction had a signed Rasmus GU bat. If anyone was there, I'd be interested in knowing what it sold for.

May 16, 2009. Khalil Greene used a flame finished LS ash bat in his first plate appearance, then used a Rawlings bat his next time up... The tar on Molina's X-Bat is getting so heavy that, from a distance, it tough to tell it's a two-tone bat. He apparently has been using that same stick for quite a while. Wonder if it's still the Cesar Isturis model he was using earlier... The Rasmus bat auctioned last night sold for $400.

May 17, 2009. Just when I thought I'd nailed Stavinoha's bat brand, he switched lumber on me. I'm pretty sure the Gwynn-finished Marucci he was using today was one of Albert's bats... Khalil Greene used a Gwynn-finished LS M9 today, then he went back to his typical Old Hickory. One sure way to tell some guys are slumping (other than their stats) is when they switch bats often. Greene has used three brands (in both ash and maple) the past two games... The Colby Rasmus bat (posted 5/6) is sold.

May 18, 2009. Jason LaRue broke ranks tonight when his bat broke late in the game. Since he's been with the Birds, LaRue has swung an ash Louisville Slugger, typically with no finish. But tonight, when his bat cracked after a foul ball, he returned to the plate with a Gwynn-finished maple X-Bat. What's most surprising about this to me is the fact that the batboy didn't have another ash LS ready to go. If you've ever watched the batboy, you've probably noticed he almost always has a bat nearby identical to the one being used by the batter, just in case it's needed.

May 19, 2009. This season's "Stars and Stripes" cap will be red instead of navy, which was worn last season. The special caps were worn during the Independence Day weekend in 2008, in addition to a four-game series that started on September 11. I assume that's the plan again this year. Ironically, the Cards are in Cincinnati during the 4th of July, so the red caps will not look out of place at all. For the record, the Cards were 1-6 during the seven games they wore the special caps last year. Let's hope red works out better for them than navy did.

May 20, 2009. Since noting on 5/16 that Molina's bat was looking particularly hammered and caked in pine tar, he's been using a different (cleaner) bat. Tonight, I got a good look at the barrel and it appears to have a signature etched on it. You don't see many contract-model X-Bats; most have the player's name in block letters. So, it's possible Molina might have his own signature model. If that's the case, knowing how rabid Molina collectors are, that will be a very in-demand piece of lumber.

May 21, 2009. Tyler Greene was swinging a black Rawlings bat tonight and it clearly had the old center brand, meaning it could have been ash or maple. Wonder if that's from Ludwick's stash... Be careful with that thing or you'll put an "I" out... I've updated the uniform number database. The alphabetical and numerical lists are now current with all 2009 numbers.

May 22, 2009. After his brief flirtation with a maple X-Bat, LaRue is back to using his typical, nasty, tarred-up LS ash bat... The red "Stars and Stripes" cap will be worn on Memorial Day (this coming Monday), not just Independence Day and 9/11. Since the team will be in Milwaukee, we'll get to see red caps paired up with the road grays -- something I (and may fans) prefer to the navy road caps.

May 23, 2009. Duncan is using Carolina Clubs again, the brand he favored his whole career until 2009. Instead of black, though, his new bat is natural-finished. It's odd that only his last name is printed on the barrel, though... Rasmus was using an unfinished ash LS with a block-lettered name on the barrel. Though I can't be positive, it sure looked like one of Brian Barden's bats.

May 24, 2009. I'm not a huge fan of Cool Base jerseys because they look cheap, don't seem to hold up well during the season and the armpit gussets eventually turn yellow on the road grays. As a collector, I was encouraged by one feature last season -- Majestic included a year flag inside with the laundry tag. However, even that seems to have disappeared on the 2009 jerseys (at right in the photo). Also, note the slight change on the laundry tag; the 2009 tag has a new line that says "© VF Imagewear, Inc." Wonder what that's all about.

May 25, 2009. The team, as planned, wore the red Stars and Stripes caps today... Molina used a Gwynn-finished Marucci in his last AB... Rasmus was swinging a black Controlling the Game bat. I haven't seen a Redbird using that brand since John Rodriguez back in 2006... Schumaker has a large horizontal snag running across his jersey, just right of his top button... I thought it was odd that this 1997 McGwire jersey had the French version of the Jackie Robinson patch. But then I checked the patch on Matt Morris' jersey (owned by a friend) and it's the same way. This Labor Day-worn jersey style already was unusual because it had uniform numbers on the front during a season when the team uniform did not.

May 26, 2009. A couple days ago, I noted that the laundry tags in Cards jerseys now include the line, "© VF Imagewear, Inc." I was reminded by reader Lewis Russell that VF Imagewear purchased Majestic in 2007. After looking at a few 2008 jerseys and speaking with other collectors, it seems the laundry tag change took place at some point last season. Some 2008 shirts have the new tag while others don't.

May 27, 2009. The discovery that the team's 1997 Labor Day jerseys had the French version of the Jackie Robinson patch has given me an idea for an article. I'm working on a piece tentatively titled, "Top Ten Quirks in Cardinals Uniform History." I already have my top 10, but I wanted to give readers a chance to chime in and share their favorite Cards uniform oddities. I'm open to suggestions, from one-game styles to designs that hung on for a season or more. Caps, stirrups, whatever -- no suggestion can be too obscure. However, I'm avoiding Turn Back the Clock unis (every team does those now) and particular player peculiarities (such as George Hendrick's trend-setting pajama pants). Have something to contribute? You know how to reach me.

May 29, 2009. I received an e-mail today asking if Albert's ball marks are still on the RH hitter's side or if they're now opposite the center brand (face) of the bat. That's because new rules required the center brand on maple bats to be place 90 degrees from where it used to be. The thought is by moving the sticker, players will still bat label-up and stop hitting the ball against the grain -- thereby breaking fewer maple bats. If you have one of Albert's bats, please contact me and let me know where the ball marks are. I have two maple bats in my office right now: Lohse is still hitting label-up, but Thurston's marks are opposite the face.

May 30, 2009. Carpenter is using an ash LS, a change from his typical maple bat. And it's not just for bunting purposes; he's using it in all situations.

May 31, 2009. Ankiel used what appeared to be a natural Marucci bat today. To this point, he had been a consistent user of Rawlings... Albert made it through the entire month of May without switching bats. The Gwynn-finished Marucci remains his lumber of choice.