Blog: August 2011

August 1, 2011. Furcal switched to a black Sam Bat tonight... Vintage Authentics has two Pujols jerseys and a McGwire jersey in its current auction. When I see jerseys like these -- especially a '98 Mac, a rookie Pujols or a 2002 Pujols -- I assume the worst and seek evidence to the contrary. The '01 Pujols looks like it has retail-quality embroidery; the thick, navy outline isn't consistent with legit, pro jerseys. The front number font also isn't right. So, that one is easy for me to write off. The numbers and letters on the '02 Pujols seem unusually frayed, but the telltale sign of forgery on 2002 jerseys usually is the memorial patches. If you're interested in this shirt, I'd certainly ask to see close-ups -- of the patch and inside stitching -- before making a final call. For whatever reason, I seem to see more bad road 2002 Pujols jerseys than any other style. The '98 McGwire is particularly interesting because it comes with a LOA signed by Jack Buck. But, does the letter belong to this jersey? Tagging on the outside of the tail is definitely not normal, and the unusual amount of material on the name plate under the letters is inconsistent with what I'd expect. And does this really look 4" shorter than standard? I can't write this off completely because I know Mac jerseys didn't always have standard tagging. But, if I was interested, I'd do a lot more homework.

August 4, 2011. Attended the National Sports Collectors Convention in suburban Chicago today. Not a tremendous amount of Cardinals items, but there were some real gems. At the top of the list was this 1942 Stan Musial 1942 uniform, displayed by Heritage Auctions during the day and hammered down this evening for $77K+ (buyer's premium included). Also saw a sweet 1973-75 Bob Gibson bat (asking $5,300), a 1967 Orlando Cepeda bat ($2,400) and an early '70s Joe Torre bat ($1,400). Surprisingly, I saw just one Pujols jersey in the room, and it had issues (athletic cut, improperly sewn name plate and numbers, unusually dirty and soft). It will be in Paragon Auction's upcoming event. You've been warned.

August 5, 2011. I missed the commotion at the Vintage Authentics booth yesterday; was examining the '42 Musial uniform across the room when the action went down. Found it interesting that jerseys "worn" by Pujols and McGwire were at the heart of the investigation that led to the arrest, given the jerseys currently at auction (and discussed in my 8/1 post). Pujols was interviewed by investigators and asked specifically about 2002 road jerseys. Pujols told them he still owned both of his '02 road jerseys, which is consistent with information I've received through the years that Pujols keeps most of his jerseys... Returned home today and setted into my recliner, expecting to watch games from Wednesday, Thursday and tonight -- but my DVR spaced out and didn't record them. I did catch the last three innings of tonight's game, and have looked at a few still photos from all three games, but didn't catch anything out of the ordinary. If you saw anything noteworthy during these games, please let me know.

August 6, 2011. Furcal seems to be using both a flame-finished, ash Easton bat and a natural-finished maple Easton... The Cardinals are auctioning several spring training jerseys, including this Pujols. You may recall the team's original spring training jerseys were sent back to Majestic because of logo alignment issues. The jerseys currently at auction were intended to be regular-season shirts, but were used in the spring instead. Pat Daly, who runs the Cardinals Authentics store, told me a new set was ordered when the original spring set was returned, and these particular jerseys now at auction were "held onto initially until the new set arrived and then until now for a variety of internal issues." So, if you want a legit Pujols jersey, here's a rare chance.

August 7, 2011. Furcal led off the game using a Marucci with a Hornsby handle and black barrel... McClellan batted with a natural Marucci... I've noticed the links included in the 8/1 post about the Pujols and McGwire jerseys no longer work. The Vintage Authentics auction is still running, but these particular lots have disappeared.

August 9, 2011. Furcal used at least three different bats tonight -- a natural Marucci, a natural ash Easton and a black Sam Bat... Jackson was swinging a black LS M9.

August 10, 2011. From my seat in section 268, I was excited to see Furcal rockin the stirrups tonight. Unfortunately, when I got home and reviewed photos, it was obvious he was wearing those crappy two-in-ones. So close, and yet so far... Perhaps in search of a slumpbuster, Pujols was swinging the darker-handled Marucci bat he'd used earlier this year... While several star jerseys from spring training are being auctioned on the team's website, the balance of those spring shirts are on sale in the stadium's Authentics Store. Prices range from $125-175. Also noticed the price drop on bats in the store has had an impact. All Holliday bats were sold and several others had been scratched out and replaced with new inventory. Still several Molina and Berkman bats in stock.

August 12, 2011. Arthur Rhodes joined the team tonight. He is wearing #53.

August 13, 2011. Jon Jay was swinging a natural Marucci bat. The grain of the bat suggests it's made from ash, which is unusual for Marucci.

August 14, 2011. Arthur Rhodes made his Redbird debut... Holliday used a natural LS M9 for the first time this season... Dotel batted late in the game, using a black LS M9... Auctions for several Cardinals 2011 spring training jerseys ended tonight on the team's website. Some of the prices realized: Pujols $4,760; Berkman $600; McGwire (road) $654; Bob Gibson (road) $619; and Lou Brock (road) $550. Jerseys for La Russa, Carpenter, Molina (BP), Freese and Garcia sold in the $270-325 range.

August 16, 2011. The price of a legit, signed and documented Pujols bat has hit a new low on eBay. Could be the laws of supply and demand at work, or it could be that the bat shows lighter use and almost no tar. Whatever the case, I'm surprised by the price given the provenance... Legendary Auctions currently has three recent jerseys on the block -- a Pujols, a La Russa and an Edmonds -- that seem off to me. By itself, the 2004 Pujols has issues, not the least of which is the lack of a name plate. But, when you put the jerseys together, there are disturbing similarities. For example, they all have consistent puckering on the numbers. The front numbers are all placed consistently -- a little too far to the right. They're all missing year flags. But, most striking is the knob end of the bat and the thickness of the birds' legs. Note how each jersey has a navy "blob" where the knob meets the handle. This is something I've noticed on Majestic shirts dating from 2003, but not after. Since 2004, at least on my exemplars, Majestic has simply created the knob using a single navy line. Same goes for the birds' legs -- haven't seen them that thick since '03. I've shared my concerns with Doug Allen at Legendary, who replied that he will "go over this with my authenticators." Stay tuned.

August 17, 2011. While there's been no official announcement from the team, FSM's broadcasters have noted a couple times that the Cards will wear 1985 throwback uniforms on Friday, 8/26 against Pittsburgh. They're doing it to honor Willie McGee, who will be on hand to sign autographs before the game (200 guaranteed). A McGee bobblehead also will be given to 20,000 fans. I've been told there's still no decision on whether the uniforms will become available to collectors at some point. As soon as I know, you'll know... On 8/4, I posted about a suspect Pujols jersey I saw at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago. It was slated to be in Paragon's upcoming auction, but now that the auction is live, the Pujols (and several other game-used jerseys) has been withdrawn.

August 19, 2011. Furcal led off using a Gwynn-finished Marucci... On Saturday, Sept. 24, three Cardinals players will sign autographs at Collector's Corner in O'Fallon, Ill. Jon Jay, Skip Schumaker and David Freese will appear beginning at 5 p.m. Cost is $20 per autograph or $55 for all three. More information available here. It's possible two former Cardinals also may be added to the event; check here for updates.

August 20, 2011. Learned today about another player appearance. Daniel Descalso will be signing at Goodsports in Edwardsville, Ill., on Sept. 10 from 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Cost is $20 per signature.

August 21, 2011. The Buddy Fund is hosting its 2nd annual "Champions for Children" event at Busch on September 8. I've been told Whitey Herzog, Andy Van Slyke and Jack Clark will be among the guests who will attend and sign for attendees. Admission is less than Herzog's typical signing fee. Details here.

August 22, 2011. Descalso swung a natural Max Bat while Furcal used a black LS M9... The three jerseys in Legendary's auction I wrote about on 8/16 are still live, so their authenticators either haven't made a call or they've decided the jerseys are legit (and that Pujols' jerseys were sans name plate two seasons before the rest of the team). If they're still doing their homework, perhaps this article can help them determine if those are 2003 shells.

August 23, 2011. Mitchell Boggs used a natural Marucci bat tonight. The question, though, is "Why the hell was Mitchell Boggs batting with the bases loaded in the 4th inning, down 8-0?" It's just a matter of time until some wiseguy puts a La Russa game-used white flag on eBay... Furcal used a two-toned Sam Bat... Pujols split his Gwynn Marucci bat in two. His next AB, he was using a dark-handled Marucci.

August 24, 2011. Furcal used a black LS ash bat today. By doing so, he takes the lead on my 2011 bat use chart with eight check marks. That's pretty amazing, considering he's played just 21 games with the Cards... The Pujols jersey in Legendary's auction (see 8/16 post) has been withdrawn. The La Russa and Edmonds jerseys are still being evaluated and are still available with a little more than 24 hours until the auction ends... I'm selling a great 2000-01 Darryl Kile game-used bat on eBay right now. It ends Thursday night. No bids yet, but several watchers. Don't miss your chance.

August 25, 2011. Just a reminder that the Cards will wear '85 pullover TBTC uniforms Friday night... Legendary didn't pull the Edmonds or La Russa jerseys in its auction that ended tonight. Someone paid $359 for Edmonds, $837 for La Russa -- both advertised as 2006 jerseys, but both exhibiting characteristics of 2003 blanks. I have a real '06 road La Russa jersey with team LOA; I wonder what that's worth.

August 26, 2011. The Cards wore 1985 throwbacks tonight in honor of that year's NL MVP Willie McGee. After a couple great efforts with the '53 TBTC unis in Tampa and the Stars' Negro League set worn in Pittsburgh in July, this latest attempt to capture the past was a huge disappointment. I've accepted that today's players won't leave the clubhouse in skin-tight pants and jerseys, so we're stuck with baggy shirts and pajama pants. That aside, why is it so difficult for Majestic to replicate a 26-year-old jersey? There are plenty of photos and actual jerseys available to examine. Just a couple minutes spent on the Internet should be all anyone needs to learn that the birds-on-bat logo should be much higher. The letters on the back should be smaller and arched more. The numbers on the back should be farther apart. The collar banding (especially the white) should be narrower. The sleeve banding should be wider (it appears the throwback's collar and sleeve banding are the same width). And the Majestic logo shouldn't be on the left sleeve. A 1985 jersey had six elements -- a collar band, sleeve bands, a logo, a front number, a back number and a name on the back. By my count, Majestic is 1-6 with this particular throwback (1-7 if you count the added sleeve logo) as it appears they did use front numbers larger than today's digits. It makes me wonder -- if teams can use non-Majestic providers for TBTC uniforms (such as AIS, which made the Stars set), why not call Rawlings and Liebe Athletic Lettering the next time an authentic throwback is needed? I'm sure they would care enough to do the job right. Majestic might make a superior shell, but when it comes to the elements attached to that shell, quality doesn't seem to be a priority for them.

August 28, 2011. Once again, I settled in to watch this weekend's games only to find my DVR decided not to record them. I've been told Albert used a natural Marucci on Saturday and broke it in his first AB. Otherwise, after reviewing all the still photos I could find, I'm not aware of anything out of the ordinary. If you are, you know what to do.

August 30, 2011. Don't know if anyone else noticed, but Lance Berkman has a thing for "nonstandard" jerseys. Back on June 11, Lance homered against Milwaukee wearing his "Cardenales" jersey. On July 2, he homered in Tampa wearing the '53 road throwback. On July 23, he went yard in Pittsburgh donning a St. Louis Stars Negro League uniform. And on August 26, he again went deep against the Pirates wearing the '85 TBTC unis. That's four for four. If the Cards ever play another meaningful game while Berkman is a member of the team, I suggest they wear something other than their normal uniforms. For the record, Berkman did not homer during the Kansas City series when the team wore the Joplin patches -- but he would have if not for this grab by Melky Cabrera.

August 31, 2011. Freese swung a Gwynn-finished A-Bat tonight. That's his eighth different type of bat this season, tying him with Furcal.