Blog: September/October 2009

September 1, 2009. Holliday was swinging a natural LS M9 tonight... I failed to note on 8/29 that Jason LaRue was using a black ash LS. He normally uses unfinished ash... I'm selling this 2006 game-used World Series cap on eBay for a friend. Thanks to some massive sweating, I can't tell who wore it. But, I do know that player-worn '06 WS caps are very rare. I've seen two and both were road caps (the other was a Jason Marquis).

September 2, 2009. Troy Glaus made his 2009 debut tonight. Not surprisingly, he was swinging a natural Rawlings bat... Here's maybe the nicest Pujols bat you'll see. According to the certificate signed by Albert, he used this bat throughout the month of August 2009 and hit his fifth grand slam of the season with it. It was auctioned at the Pujols Family Foundation's golf outing on Monday and signed by Pujols after the event. If you have a chance to buy a 2009 Pujols bat and you want to compare usage characteristics, this is the bat you should use as your exemplar.

September 3, 2009. As most bat collectors know by now, Hillerich & Bradsby has been etching bat manufacture dates, lengths and weights into the knobs of their bats this season. Early in the year, when the laser was new, the markings were large, bold and deep. By midseason, the laser seemed less precise, leaving a weaker brand. This shot compares the markings side by side. Now, word from Brian Hillerich is that the laser "died" in mid August and, through 9/1, still had not been repaired. Instead of laser-etching bats, the company has been stamping them the way they did prior to 1976. I haven't seen one of these knobs in person yet, but looking at a tight shot of Matt Holliday's bat today, it's clear the stamping is straight, not circular. Just something to keep in mind if you're collecting 2009 bats... Rick Ankiel added a Gwynn-finished Sam Bat to the lumber he's used this season.

September 4, 2009. I noticed during yesterday's game that Molina again was using a standard batting helmet instead of the Cool Flow helmet he's preferred this season... I've been calling Lugo's bats "Gwynn finished" so far, but after seeing one up close, I believe the barrel is more brown than black. It's especially noticable on a black background. So, I've changed it to a Walker finish on the bat use chart.

September 5, 2009. Boggs used a natural Marucci bat tonight, a switch from his typical black LS ash bat... Troy Glaus got the start at first base, but instead of using a first baseman's mitt, he opted for his regular infielder's glove.

September 6, 2009. I've always thought of Marucci as a maple bat company, but today was the first time I saw a Marucci bat that clearly was ash. Rasmus was swinging it, and the visible grain left no doubt it was ash, not maple... Glaus used a Gwynn-finished Sam Bat.

September 7, 2009. Carpenter was using a Gwynn-finished LS M9, and though I'm not positive, it looked like a Joel Piñeiro model... Mike Matheny traveled with the team on this road trip and was shown in full uniform, wearing #22. Of course, Thurston also wears #22. This situation is similar to when Larry Walker was a "visiting coach" and wore a duplicate #33.

September 8, 2009. Smoltz was using an unfinished ash bat that appeared to have his name and "St. Louis Cardinals" under his name. I couldn't read the wording clearly, but the spaces between words certainly didn't align with "Boston Red Sox."

September 9, 2009. There are a handful of eBay sellers whose IDs raise immediate suspicion (if not disgust). The king of thieves could be tim_455qkf, a Virginia seller whose endless supply of homemade batting helmets causes as many laughs as cringes. A friend once bought a rare, early Yogi Berra bat from him. From the photos, there was no doubt it was a legit R43 Larry Berra-branded Louisville Slugger. But, the bat that arrived in the mail was a beat-up '70s Yogi Berra retail bat. (I later tried to sell it for my friend on eBay, but it couldn't fetch a 99-cent minimum bid. That's how crappy it was.) The seller has become famous on the Game Used Universe message board for his shenanigans. Still, though, he continues to sell on eBay. His latest listing is a Stan Musial game-used bat. It looks like a real 1960 Adirondack in the photos. Wonder what it will look like when it shows up on the buyer's door step. You've been warned.

September 11, 2009. The team wore the red stars and stripes caps, just as they did on July 4 and Memorial Day... Rasmus used a natural maple Marucci bat with a fully taped handle, which is unusual. It's possible it was a Brendan Ryan model.

September 12, 2009. Cardinals' minor league pitching coordinator Dyar Miller has been in the dugout and in uniform, though it doesn't appear he's wearing a numbered jersey. When I see him, he's wearing a red warmup jacket/pullover... The team received some new Rawlings S100 batting helmets, and thanks to this video, we know at least Brendan Ryan has tried one. Based on his comments, though, I get the feeling we won't be seeing any of these oversized shells being used in a game.

September 13, 2009. Matt Holliday created inventory for the Authentics Store... The seller of the Musial bat I wrote about on 9/9 put a $700 buy-it-now price on the bat and it sold quickly. Either somebody got a real steal, or they're going to get a rude awakening. If you bought the bat and read this blog, please let me know how this turns out.

September 14, 2009. Trever Miller almost had his first plate appearance since 1999. He had a bat in hand -- it looked like a Jason LaRue model ash LS -- and went to the plate, only to be called back for a pinch hitter. What a rip!... LaRue pinch hit using a Gwynn-finished LS M9, a new bat for him... A 1984 Willie McGee jersey was listed on eBay today and sold quickly for $750.

September 15, 2009. I have listed several items on eBay, all of which end next Sunday night. In addition to a Tim McCarver game-used bat, I'm also selling batting gloves, a few caps and two autographed Dennis Dove jerseys (one from the first Civil Rights Game). Bid early, bid often!

September 16, 2009. OK, Willie McGee collectors, I bet you don't have one of these. It's a game worn sock, autographed and framed with three cards and an SGA from Willie McGee Day at Busch. It can be yours for $75 plus shipping. Local pickup encouraged... Gee, look what SCP Auctions is trying to sell in its online store. This jersey has been discussed here before -- it lacks a name on back, which means Gibby didn't wear it in '62. Thought SCP sold this at its last auction. Guess not. Huh... Can wait to see what this sells for.

September 18, 2009. If you were the winner of this 1996 Rawlings Ray Lankford bat, please contact me... I was at the game tonight and perused the auction kiosks. There was a signed, game-used Ankiel road jersey and a signed, game-used Brendan Ryan bat (broken in two). I didn't see their eventual sale prices.

September 19, 2009. I received an e-mail from the person who won this Musial bat from a usually shady eBay dealer. He says after quizzing the seller and paying with PayPal for a little buyer protection, he had the bat shipped to him overnight. Lo and behold, the bat he received is the same bat from the photos. I'm happy for the buyer, who took a huge risk. But, I'm also happy to see the dealer in question has been reduced to selling $4,000 bats for $700.

September 20, 2009. When you attend games in person, you get to see things the TV misses. For example, Pujols broke a bat tonight making the third out of the inning. A fairly sizeable piece broke off the handle and landed in the dirt in front of the plate. The batboy retrieved the bat, but missed the sliver of wood. Noticing it was left behind, the umpire grabbed the wood and walked toward the dugout. But, instead of giving it to the batboy, he gave it to a field usher who had finished his shift and was leaving the field. As he exited, you could tell he was happy with his souvenir, showing it to three people along the way. Unfortunately, a salvageable Pujols bat cannot be repaired because the missing piece ended up with the wrong person.

September 21, 2009. Three nice Molina auction items ended on the team's Web site last night. A cracked bat sold for $350 and received just one bid, which is a bit of a surprise. His bats usually go for more. A home Coolflo helmet sold for $510, but a road Coolflow helmet didn't get a single bid at $350. Maybe it's because the team logo was removed, for some strange reason. Note that Yadi's helmets are size 7 3/8 and his Marucci bat is a YM4-M Custom Cut model.

September 22, 2009. Now we know what this sold for. Interestingly, the same buyer (wearingitagain, a notorious eBay scammer) also bought a Pujols bat barrel recently. So, keep an eye out on eBay for a 2009 Pujols barrel (the black dot on the handle is the giveaway) with a 2008 Pujols knob from good ol' wearingitagain. I'd be shocked if that didn't happen... DeRosa has been using a black ash LS bat. He's been a maple guy since joining the team.

September 23, 2009. Of the September call-ups, only Matt Pagnozzi is new to the MLB ranks. The team Web site has him listed as #19, his uncle's old digits. Wonder if Stavinoha realizes his number has been given away... I've listed several bats for sale on Game Used Universe. Many sold quickly, but some good ones remain, including a Renteria and a Polanco... No takers on the McGee stirrup sock yet (see 9/16 entry), so the price is now $50 plus shipping. Shoot, the frame job is almost worth that.

September 25, 2009. The McGee sock is sold. Thanks for your interest... There's a sweet Curt Flood bat up for auction on the Bay... I'm still looking for the winner of this 1996 Rawlings Ray Lankford bat. If you're out there, please contact me.

September 26, 2009. Brian Hillerich from H&B informs us that his company stopped putting the LS 125th Anniversary logo on bats at the beginning of September. He also says the laser has been repaired, so length, weight and date information is being etched into bat knobs once again. Bats made while the laser was broken have only a date stamp in the M/DD/Y format -- so a bat made August 15 would be stamped "8159." This bat was made July 9.

September 27, 2009. In the fourth inning, Pujols let go of his bat as he struck out and it flew into the seats at Coors Field above the third-base dugout. A tug-of-war ensued, but didn't last long. Keep an eye on eBay for that bat... Khalil Greene used a Walker-finished Old Hickory bat... Freese is wearing #23, which is Barden's old number. The digits Freese wore earlier this season (#12) now are worn by Lugo... Happy birthday, Em!

September 29, 2009. Matt Pagnozzi made his MLB debut tonight wearing #19. He used what appeared to be an ash LS with a Hornsby finish for his first plate appearance... Troy Glaus pinch hit using a Walker-finished Old Hickory bat... David Freese hit his first MLB home run using a Gwynn-finished Marucci bat.

September 30, 2009. Colby Rasmus was swinging a Gwynn-finished LS M9 tonight. He has used M9 bats before, but not with that finish... Not sure what to make of this Pujols bat on eBay. It's apparently a legit bat, but the use and tar are very light. It's not cracked, which makes me wonder why Pujols would have stopped using it. And it's not signed, so I assume it wasn't a gift to a friend. Did Pujols use it? Your guess is as good as mine on this one.

October 1, 2009. Carpenter used a Gwynn-finished Sam Bat for the first time that I've noticed. After hitting a grand slam and a double, I have a feeling he'll be using that bat again... The Huggins and Scott auction that ended tonight had eight great 1960s Cardinals bats. A 1965-68 Roger Maris was hammered down at $10K while a Lou Brock from the same era sold for $3K. The lot I was bidding on had a Mike Shannon, two Tim McCarvers, a Red Schoendienst used by Curt Flood, a Ron Davis and a Bob Uecker (the bat I really wanted). It ended at $2,000. I was the underbidder. If you won that lot and are interested, I have buyers for Shannon, one McCarver, the Davis and, of course, the Uecker (me).

October 2, 2009. Went to the game tonight and after the fifth inning, I hit the Authentics Store, convinced that Wainwright had sewn up his 20th win and the Cy Young Award. So, I bought the last Wainwright 2009 bat in stock. From that point on, the Cards were outscored 12-0. You just never know... The Authentics store added new bats, but none from players not already in stock. The only "new" items were four Holliday Cardinals cracked bats at $400 each... Cardinals Care auctions at the stadium included a Ludwick bat and a Ryan jersey... Not equipment related, but kind of cool -- Celtics great Bill Russell was sitting about 20 rows in front of me. Wonder what he was doing in St. Louis.

October 3, 2009. Ankiel used two new bats today, a black ash LS and a black Max Bat with white handle tape... Fellow collector Rob Steinmetz recently brought to my attention that his three 2005 Cardinals jerseys all had unusual stitching around the tags. The Majestic tag was attached with white thread, but the year flags were attached with clear stitches (the white threads were cut so they could slide the year flag under the Majestic tag). I checked my 2005 shirt and it's the same way. It seems the team had year flags added after the jerseys were made, but it's unclear if the year flags were added by the team or by Majestic. I'm hoping for a chance to ask someone with the team if they know the reason the year flags were attached in such a manner; will keep you posted.

October 4, 2009. Glaus used a flame-finished ash LS bat today... No amount of LOAs can make this a legit 2001 Pujols jersey. I could point out numerous flaws, from the front number font, to the back lettering font, to the fact that there's an extra length tag in a jersey for a guy who hates tails. But, all you have to do is look at the birds' heads and the left side (barrel end) of the bat. Not even close, as you can see. I contacted the seller, pointed out the flaws and offered to help him get a refund. But, the jersey is still up on eBay... If the seller follows through on this auction and sends the Gibson bat in the photos, somebody got a real buy-it-now steal.

October 7, 2009. No new bats in tonight's game. If someone does use a different stick during the post-season, I'll find some way to note that on the bat use chart... Pujols ended the regular season using nothing but Marucci. In fact, except for a natural bat he swung during three plate appearances on April 21, his bats were all Gwynn-finished... I've added several new bats and jerseys to the sale inventory section. Shop 'til you drop!

October 8, 2009. I've updated Pujols' bat use records. They can be found here. As you'll see on that page, I've been tracking every Pujols plate appearance since the 2004 World Series... The Gibson bat that sold on eBay a few days ago was, indeed, legit. It was confirmed by the buyer. Unfortunately, he's already flipped it to a friend of mine. The bad news is, it will not leave it's new home; the good news is the collector likely will be selling a 1974 Gibson bat to make room for his acquisition. If you're interested, keep checking back.

October 10, 2009. After nuking every Pujols rookie jersey I've ever seen on eBay, I'm pleased to say this one has all the signs of being legit. Yeah, it has tails, but it likely was worn for one jersey-off-the-back day. Stiff price, but all things considered, not outrageous... The season has ended, but the blog goes on. I plan on posting more often this off season, at least once a week. So, stay tuned!