Blog: June 2012

June 1, 2012. Sam Freeman made his MLB debut wearing #61, digits that previously were worn by then-assistant hitting coach Mike Aldrete... Maikel Cleto also made his first appearance of the season wearing the same #63 he wore in 2011.

June 2, 2012. Because of pitching coach Derek Lilliquist's absence (child's graduation), assistant hitting coach John Mabry was in uniform and on the bench. Mabry wears the same #47 he wore as a player... Last night, Beltran hit a double down the third base line foul ball using a natural LS M9, a new bat for him this season.

June 3, 2012. On 5/30, I made reference to a 2005 Pujols bat being available for $3,600 shipped. Here are photos. The bat shows tremendous use with multiple seam impressions and ink transfers. It's broken and repaired, and exhibits ideal Pujols characteristics, from the tar to the on-deck weight scratches to the red bat box transfer on the end. It's one of the few Pujols bats you'll find with a team LOA. So, if you're looking for a legit gamer from Pujols' first MVP season, along with a 16 x 20 print (unframed) of him using it, let me know... Westbrook used a Marucci bat with a black handle and natural barrel. It may have been Garcia's bat... Chambers used the same black/natural Marucci.

June 4, 2012. Got a clear look today at Chambers' Marucci bat -- it's a Jaime Garcia model.

June 5, 2012. Cleto had his first plate appearance of the season tonight. He swung a black LS ash bat.

June 6, 2012. The auction for three of the the pink Mother's Day bats ended this evening. Furcal's unused stick fetched almost $400. Holliday achieved the highest price of the bunch at $770. Berkman, surprisingly, sold for less than $500. The Jay and Cruz bats ends on Thursday... I've been told Birdbats was mentioned during the Fox Sports Midwest pregame show tonight. If anyone has video, please let me know.

June 7, 2012. Auctions for the pink bats used by Jay and Cruz on Mother's Day ended this evening. Jay's lumber fetched $596 while Cruz's bat sold for $260. If anyone can offer a logical explanation why Jay's bat sold for $110 more than Berkman's (who had a hit; Jay did not), I'm all ears.

June 8, 2012. Descalso used a natural LS ash bat... After tonight's game, the Cards released Scott Linebrink before he ever got healthy enough to make the 25-man roster. I suspect his #40 may be passed on to Joe Kelly, who will be called up to make his MLB debut on Sunday. Of course, there's always a chance the team already has jerseys made for Kelly with higher digits. We'll see.

June 9, 2012. Freese used a natural LS M9 during his first plate appearance.

June 10, 2012. Joe Kelly made his MLB debut today wearing #58. Those digits haven't been worn by a Cards player since 2002. From 2004-11, they belonged to bullpen catcher Jeff Murphy. Kelly wore a Cool Base jersey and a traditional helmet, and he swung a natural ash LS with white handle tape... If this Enos Slaughter bat on eBay caught your eye, remember that Country missed three seasons due to military service -- and those years are consistent with the bat's labeling. Slaughter received five orders for 20 total bats from 1943-45, which suggests the bat on eBay likely was used by Enos as a soldier, not as a Redbird.

June 12, 2012. Chambers used a black LS M9 tonight... Holliday has gone back to his Old Hickory bat... The Authentics Store at Busch finally put out new bats on Sunday.

June 13, 2012. I was contacted by the owner of the Enos Slaughter bat mentioned on 6/10. He said my post prompted him to re-examine his bat and the PSA/DNA letter. He determined the assessment was wrong -- the bat should have been classified as a 1944-48 era bat. So, he contacted John Taube at PSA/DNA, who agreed it had a C-12 center brand and a P-6 version of "Powerized," both of which date to 1944-48. Given the lack of a model number on the knob, Taube narrows the era to 1944-47. So, there's still a small chance it's a military bat, but there's a much better chance it is an actual gamer from 1946-47.

June 14, 2012. The latest round of gold-accented opening day jerseys hit the auction block today at cardinals.com. They include Wainwright, the starting pitcher; Marte and Robinson, who both appeared in the game; Schumaker, who was on the DL; and coach Maloney. I was hoping to win the Schumaker to go with my 2007 gold-trimmed Skip jersey, but with an opening bid of $400, I'm not so sure I'll be bidding.

June 15, 2012. I understand the Cardinals will stop wearing the World Series Champions patch after the All-Star Game and will not replace it with another patch.

June 16, 2012. Furcal did something today I've never seen before -- he batted left handed wearing his right-handed helmet. In this sequence, you can see him batting, realizing after one pitch that he had the wrong lid, asking for time and then requesting his other helmet... I wonder how much the guys who wash the uniforms hate Allen Craig. Craig has a habit of putting his tarred bat under his left arm so he can tighten his batting gloves. He does this multiple times each game, resulting in one nasty-looking pit stain.

June 17, 2012. Lots of baby blue wristbands and ribbons for Father's Day (prostate cancer awareness), but the ribbons are temporary. And still, no blue bats... Another bewildering auction has ended on cardinals.com. Recently, I couldn't wrap my brain around Jon Jay's pink bat selling for more than Lance Berkman's. Now, Skip Schumaker's gold-trimmed opening day jersey has been hammered down at $967. That's crazy on its own merits, but it was more than Wainwright's jersey, which ended at $951. Remember, Adam was the starting pitcher on opening day while Skip was a spectator on the DL. Don't get me wrong -- I'm a big fan of Skip's and Jon's, but I just don't get it... The other gold-trimmed jerseys ending today included Marte ($471), Robinson ($510) and Maloney ($405).

June 19, 2012. Included in Hunt Auctions' All-Star Game auction next month is this gorgeous 1932 home flannel. I love the four-leaf clover in the tail. You'll recall that 1932 is the first season the Birds wore numbers on their backs. It's also one of two seasons (plus the '31 World Series) in which the team wore "St. Louis" across the jersey front... While surfing eBay this evening during the game, I came across a couple lots that prompt these reminders. First, Lance Berkman uses ash bats during games. Any maple bats you come across almost certainly were used for batting practice. And second, the pine tar on a Mark McGwire bat should extend a couple inches to the right of the center brand.

June 20, 2012. I've received a couple questions about this David Eckstein jersey on eBay. It's an odd item because it's a 2003 shell (based on the laundry tag and other features), but the name on back is direct-stitched, a practice that didn't start until 2006. And remember, the Cards had a sleeve patch during all of Eckstein's tenure in St. Louis. Best case scenario -- this is a spring training jersey from 2006 or '07. But, it would be extremely unusual for the team to use a 2003 shell that late, especially for its starting shortstop. What seems more probable to me is that Cardinals Care had the jersey made up from old stock for Eck to sign (a common practice then), but it never got signed -- so it ended up on the Winter Warm Up store rack.

June 21, 2012. The final round of gold-accented opening day jerseys offered by Cardinals Authentics is now live on cardinals.com. The last five shirts include those worn by Holliday, Carpenter, McGwire, McClellan and Aldrete... I contacted Cardinals Care to ask if there was an auction schedule for the jerseys it has, which should include Molina, Beltran and others not offered by Authentics. There is no schedule. In fact, it's possible none of the remaining jerseys will be offered until the 2013 Winter Warm Up. So, start saving now.

June 22, 2012. Holliday swung a black Old Hickory while Schumaker used black handle/natural barrel Marucci... Back on 9/9/09, I wrote about eBay sellers whose IDs raise immediate suspicion, including one in particular -- tim_455qkf, a handle belonging to a Virginia man named Lin Griffin. That eBay account went silent about a year ago. Recently, I noticed items showing up from another Virginia seller -- minimick07 -- that were similar to Griffin's items, even down to the way the photos were taken. The minimick07 account got real active about a year ago. I purchased an item from him and the return address belonged to "Ray Fleming." But, when I Googled the address, the resident was identified as, you guessed it, Lin Griffin. So, if you're considering anything from seller, such as a "Lou Brock" helmet, remember this. You've been warned -- again.

June 23, 2012. There's some interesting language in this eBay listing for a Stan Musial game-used bat ("Finally here is your chance to own a 'Poor Man's Musial Gamer' as close as you can get without spending over $20k"), but here's the one thing you need to know. The label era is 1964-72, and Stan never ordered the M117 after 1953. It's nothing more than a pro stock bat.

June 24, 2012. The final five gold-accented opening day jerseys offered by Cardinals Authentics were hammered down tonight on cardinals.com. Chris Carpenter attracted the largest bid, $1,753. Holliday was next at $1,410, followed by McGwire ($1,163), McClellan ($690) and Aldrete ($436).

June 25, 2012. Last Friday, Uni-Watch published a short piece about players who wore numbers 0 and 00. The Cardinals have three representatives in this group, Kerry Robinson (#0), Bobby Bonds and Omar Olivares (both #00, though Olivares says those weren't zeros, they were his initials). I pulled out my 1980 Cardinals yearbook to see if there was a story about why Bonds chose #00. No luck, but I did see photos of him wearing #26. According to Cardinals Journal, Bonds wanted #25, but George Hendrick had that number. Apparently, Bonds chose #26 during spring training, but by opening day, he was wearing #00. Now, look what shows up on eBay -- a Bonds #26 jersey. The seller says "O'Brien" was removed from the back and replaced with "Bonds." Makes sense -- Dan O'Brien wore #26 in 1979. But, the seller also suggests Bonds wore #26 during the regular season, referencing Baseball Almanac. Problem is, BA does not include #26 as a number for Bonds in 1980. BA is accurate -- Bonds wore only #00 during the regular season; #26 was his spring training number.

June 29, 2012. The Authentics Store had a few new bats tonight, including this Beltran bat, which I photo matched to home runs (and a single) on June 9 and 10. It took a long time for 2012 bats to show up in inventory, but now they're getting to the store the same month they're used... On that Beltran bat, note the letters "LDM" after the model below Beltran's name. That stands for "low-density maple." You may recall H&B's Brian Hillerich explained LDM and other new notations via a link in my May 2 blog.

June 30, 2012. Barret Browning made his Cardinals debut wearing #62... Lance Lynn used a black ash LS.