Blog: July 2010

July 1, 2010. Blake Hawksworth used a black ash LS.

July 2, 2010. The team again wore its white-domed Stars and Stripes caps tonight.

July 3, 2010. In the second inning tonight, all three batters used a Gwynn-finished Marucci bat -- and none of them were named Pujols. It got me thinking about what kind of lineup the Cards could field consisting solely of guys who primarily or often use Marucci: C Molina; 1B Pujols; 2B Schumaker; SS Ryan; 3B Freese; LF Holliday; CF Craig; RF Stavinoha; P Carpenter. Not bad... The Stars and Stripes caps were featured again tonight... This jersey goes off tomorrow on eBay. It's an odd one. First of all, Waller wore #12 in his only season with the birds on bat (1980); and second, there is no number on the front or the sleeves. If the jersey was worn in '77, '78 or '81, there should be a number on the front; if it was worn in '79 or '80, there should be numbers on the sleeves.

July 4, 2010. This was the third game in a row, and probably the last until 9/11, that the team wore the Stars and Stripes caps... No matter how much I enlarge the photo of the knob on this Pujols bat, I can't find a manufacture date, length or weight. Hmm... Louisville Sluggers weren't very visible in the clubhouse at the beginning of the season, but the influx of new players has changed that. In fact, in light of yesterday's all-Marucci team, I've assembled an all LS team: C Anderson; 1B LaRue; 2B Miles; SS Greene; 3B Mather; LF Jay; CF Rasmus; RF Winn; P Wainwright. Not going to beat the Marucci team in a best of seven, but back in April, you couldn't even have fielded such a squad.

July 6, 2010. Dennys Reyes had his first plate appearance in five years tonight. He used Skip Schumaker's X-Bat... I've noticed two photos in the past week of former players wearing what appear to be legit gamers from their playing days. In this shot, both John Mabry and Mike Matheny are wearing pro jerseys. Mabry, in fact, looks like he's wearing his 2004 World Series home shirt. And in this photo, Ozzie Smith is wearing a 1996 home jersey. Ozzie's may not be a gamer -- it's known that he ordered many, many jerseys during his final season. But, one would assume the jersey came from his closet.

July 7, 2010. Evan MacLane made his MLB debut wearing #62, which belonged to P.J. Walters earlier this season. Walters changed to #40 before being sent back to AAA... MacLane's name on the back of his uniform is done in the style of McGwire, McKay, LaRussa and LaRue -- all caps, same height, with a space (MAC LANE -- I can't look at his uni and not think of former Big Red running back MacArthur Lane). I still wonder why Kyle McClellan and Mark DeRosa have/had inconsistent lettering styles.

July 8, 2010. Should have noted last night that Jaime Garcia was using a black LS M9... McGwire once again is leaving his jersey in the locker and wearing the red sweatshirt... Some eBay descriptions make me giggle, like this one: "You are bidding on a black Ozzie Smith Louisville Slugger 125 Genuine bat size 34. The bat has no cracks and is in great condition. It shows very little use with a couple ball marks throughout the bat. Ozzie Smith's name is engraved in silver cursive on the barrel. The number 20 is written on both ends of the bat in silver marker." Number 20? Well, look at the photo of the knob and you'll know why I'm giggling.

July 9, 2010. How popular is Pujols among memorabilia collectors? In the Leland's auction that ended tonight, a 2009 bat with very little evidence of use, no autograph and no visible pine tar sold for almost $2,300. And a 2005 road jersey with an athletic (not straight) hem and no year flag attached to the tag went for $5,350 after juice. Granted, that's not close to the $13,288 his home jersey netted in the Busch Farewell auction back in 2005, but for a road shirt with two less-than-ideal features, well, wow.

July 10, 2010. Nothing new tonight, so let's look at some other items in yesterday's Leland's auction... Interesting how this 1999 McGwire jersey fetched only $1,165, but this signed lineup card from his 61st HR game of 1998 broke $3K... This team-signed 1991 Pedro Guerrero bat attracted just one bid... Glad to see nobody "bit" on this auction. Seriously, Leland's, I'd expect this from some auction houses, but not you.

July 11, 2010. Nothing to report during this last game before the All-Star festivities, so I wanted to try something I haven't done before -- imbed a video. Just before Matt Holliday launched his home run today, Cards broadcaster Mike Shannon unleashed another great Shannonism. Here is is -- a bit of comic relief before the break.

July 12, 2010. Matt Holliday used a natural Sam Bat during the home run derby. Looks like the same bat he used to hit the deciding HR in Houston yesterday.

July 13, 2010. Albert Pujols (Marucci), Yadier Molina (X-Bat) and Matt Holliday (Sam Bat) used their typical lumber during the All-Star Game, but all were wearing the new Rawlings S100 batting helmet. The S100 has been redesigned from its original oversized incarnation, which earned it the nickname, "Great Gazoo helmet"... Players had the ASG patch on their right sleeves and the left side of their caps.

July 15, 2010. Carpenter whipped out a black Sam Bat tonight... The All-Stars who all wore the S100 batting helmet Tuesday night switched back to their standard-issue Cool Flo helmets to start the second half of the season... Winners of the Jackie Robinson Day jersey raffle received their shirts before the game. $80,000 was donated to the JR Foundation. That means the 30 jerseys netted an average of $2,667 each. No way they raise that much through a regular sale or auction. Beyond the 25 players, I'm assuming the remaining five jerseys belonged to LaRussa and coaches Oquendo, McKay, Pettini and Mason. McGwire's shirt was not included; it was auctioned at a separate charity function.

July 16, 2010. Learned today that David Freese will be signing autographs at Collector's Corner in Swansea on August 15 from 6-8 p.m. All items will be $25. JSA autograph authenticators also will be there earlier in the day... A week later, on August 21, Ryan Ludwick, Yadier Molina and Brian Jordan will be signing at Two Hearts in St. Louis. Information on that event is available here.

July 17, 2010. Brendan Ryan used an X-Bat with a brown handle and a natural barrel, which I call the "reverse Walker," or "Reklaw" finish ("Walker" backwards; get it?). It's rare to see a bat with the handle darker than the barrel. He broke the bat in his second plate appearance.

July 18, 2010. Looks like a couple batting helmets from the Authentics Store have made it online. Apparently, there were no buyers for the Molina and Holliday lids at $300 each, so now they're being auctioned on the team's Web site... This is an interesting jersey. Russell Athletic had the MLB uniform contract back in the mid-'90s, but the Cardinals opted to go with Rawlings. I checked with team officials about the Smith jersey on eBay and was told Russell made a set of uniforms for the team, but the team didn't wear them. Wonder if that's the source of the Ozzie shirt. Always interesting when you see oddball jerseys -- seems they typically belong to the stars and not the bench guys.

July 19, 2010. If you missed out on Pujols' 2000 Arizona Fall League road jersey a few weeks back, the same seller is offering his home shirt on eBay... This is not a 1978 Buddy Schultz road jersey -- it's a minor league shirt. Note there's no name on back (NOB) and the back number is set high... This also is a minor league jersey. Not only does it have the same issue on the back, but it also has a number on the front and none on the sleeves as jerseys from 1979 and 1980 should... Finally, this looks like a legit 1982 road jersey, but #18 was Gene Tenace. Not sure what this one is, but I know what it's not. There was no Brown on the '82 Cardinals. In fact, surprisingly, only one player in Cardinals history has had this common surname -- Jimmy Brown, who played in the late '30s and early '40s.

July 20, 2010. Chris Carpenter swung his fifth different kind of bat this season, using a black LS M9. He'd used LS before, but it was natural ash... I have eight bats currently listed on eBay. A 2000-01 Placido Polonco is the only Cardinals bat. However, Mike Mahoney was a Redbird in 2005 for a short time; while his bat is from his days with the Cubs, he's a tough bat for Cardinals collectors. All eight bats came from a 1999-2001 grounds crew member.

July 21, 2010. Ryan Franklin had his third plate appearance of the season and used his third different bat. Tonight, he used an X-Bat with a Hornsby handle and black barrel, a model favored by Yadier Molina... If you're trying to decide what to buy me for Christmas, here are some gift ideas, courtesy of Legendary Auctions: a 1960 Stan Musial jersey; a 1967 Orlando Cepeda jersey; and Bill White's 1964 World Series ring. Ho, ho, ho!

July 22, 2010. If you're on Steiner Sports' mailing list -- and why would you be unless you're a fan of the Yankees, Mets, Red Sox or Cubs? -- then you found out yesterday what some of us just learned today. Steiner ended up with the TBC jerseys from the Civil Rights Game played 5/15 in Cincinnati. Not sure why MLB decided to wholesale these to Steiner instead of auctioning them on MLB.com, but they did. The bad news -- all the big names already are gone. The good news -- a few jerseys still remain as I write this. If you have $300, you can buy Stavinoha, Reyes or Motte (they played in the game). For $250, you can own Greene, Miller, Franklin, Boggs, McClellan, Lohse, LaRue or coaches McKay, Pettini or Murphy... Just a couple notes about the Phillies as they leave town. First, the color of their Cool Base jerseys doesn't match their road pants, and when the placket curls, it looks like it says "PHILLLIES." So, I guess our shirts could be worse. And second, infielder Cody Ransom is still using a Louisville Slugger from 2009 with the 125th anniversary logo. That bat has to be at least 11 months old.

July 23, 2010. The Cardinals announced today that Whitey Herzog's #24 will be retired during a ceremony on July 31. That number was worn last by Rick Ankiel in a pinch-hitting appearance on 10/4/09. Since Whitey retired in 1990, nine individuals have worn #24, including Eric Davis, Bobby Bonilla and Dmitri Young.

July 24, 2010. Although nine guys wore the soon-to-be-retired #24 after Whitey Herzog, that's nowhere close to a record for the team. Twenty-seven people wore #17 after Dizzy Dean last donned the digits in 1937 (it was retired in 1974). And 18 folks wore #9 after Enos Slaughter, including stars like Roger Maris, Joe Torre and Terry Pendleton. Twelve guys were assigned #14 after Ken Boyer's playing days ended, but only three players wore the number after Boyer was fired as manager in 1980 and replaced by -- Whitey Herzog.

July 25, 2010. Is it just me, or does it seem like the prices being paid for common and semi-star bats have tanked in recent months? High-end bats are still attracting big bucks from well-heeled collectors, but common bats really seem to be suffering. I sold eight bats on eBay tonight, the most expensive being a Placido Polanco for $45. The guy's still playing; he's a .304 lifetime hitter, a multiple Gold Glove winner and a borderline star -- and his bat can't fetch $50? A 2001-era bat from Danny Bautista, arguably the best offensive player for the D'backs in the '01 World Series, sold for $10. And it's not just my bats. A signed gamer from former Redbird Floyd Rayford sold in the most recent Hunt auction for $10. Not long ago, you could expect to realize at least $30-40 for any piece of firewood. Is it just the economy? Has supply caught up with demand? Have we simply lost interest in marginal players from 20-30 years ago? I'd appreciate your thoughts.

July 27, 2010. Albert Pujols appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman last night and, in one segment, took some BP on 53rd St. He was using a new Marucci bat and wearing what appeared to be red Nike batting gloves with white accents. After the show, he gave the gloves to actor Denis Leary, who pitched to Pujols, and gave Dave a Marucci bat personalized with Letterman's name. I'm not sure if that's the bat Pujols used, or whether Albert swung his own stick... After years of trying to sell the first 2nd base bag from the inaugural game at Busch III for what turned out to be too high a price, the team's Authentics store put it up at auction last week. It sold for $730. (Note: Just heard from the happy buyer, who reminded me the original asking price on that base was $3,000. Congrats on the purchase, Paul!)

July 28, 2010. Mike MacDougal made his Cardinals debut in the 12th inning and ended up with the win. MacDougal was wearing #63, but Cards' broadcaster Al Hrabosky said MacDougal will switch to #48 when the team returns home on Friday. Those digits had been assigned to Rich Hill during the spring, but Hill was released by Memphis on 6/30. Fellow Cardinals blogger Brian Walton played a role in the upcoming number swap; he offers his account on thecardinalnation.com... For the record, MacDougal's NOB appeared in all upper case with no discernible space between the C and the D... More evidence of falling bat prices -- a picture-perfect 2009 Ryan Ludwick sold on eBay last evening for $102.50 while a nice Mark DeRosa sold for a measly $26 -- about a tenth of what fans paid last season at the team's Authentics store. Wow... In case I didn't make my position clear before, I think Cool Base jerseys look like crap after extended wear.

July 29, 2010. Looks like Rip Rowan has been busy at his sewing machine. Instead of waiting to return home, he whipped up a #48 road jersey for Mike MacDougal, which Mike wore during his pitching appearance today. Note the spacing of the letters is the same as yesterday. Given the length of his name, MacDougal would be an ideal candidate for a smaller "AC." We'll see how the home jersey looks tomorrow... Molina used a natural Sam Bat. Not new, but definitely unusual this season.

July 30, 2010. Went to the game tonight and stopped in the Authentics Store. They had a few new bats, but no new players represented. One interesting bat was a natural Sam Bat used by Matt Holliday. It had a white sticker on the barrel with notations written on it. I assume it was part of the recent broken bat study and was returned with the sticker on it... Received a Vince Coleman bobble head upon entering the ballpark tonight. After asking around, though, it appears mine was the only one that came with it's own killer tarp.

July 31, 2010. Colby Rasmus used a black Old Hickory for a couple of at-bats tonight. That marks the first time this season (that I've noticed) he's used something other than a black LS M9. I'm pretty sure he used the M9 for his home run, though... Whitey Herzog's #24 was officially added to the outfield wall tonight. He also was awarded a framed jersey, complete with the wrong sized letters for the style and arm banding that appears far too narrow. Really, they couldn't come closer to recreating a 1982 jersey than that?... Mike MacDougal's home jersey looks like his road shirt -- same size letters, same spacing.