Blog: May 2012

May 1, 2012. The team announced today that Tony La Russa's #10 will be retired prior to the game on Friday, May 11. No surprise there... Allen Craig made his 2012 debut tonight. He swung a Gwynn-finished Rawlings bat, which I thought was odd since he used A-Bat throughout the 2011 season. Craig wore a Cool Base jersey and a COOLFLO helmet.

May 2, 2012. Cruz used a natural Marucci tonight... McClellan got his first plate appearance of 2012. He used a Gwynn-finished LS M9... Speaking of maple Louisville Sluggers, you'll find a few different notations on bat knobs this season that identify the type of maple, per new MLB rules. More information can be found in this thread (post #7), courtesy of Brian Hillerich of H&B.

May 3, 2012. My condolences to Stan Musial and his family on the loss of Stan's wife of 73 years, Lil, who passed away this evening... I thought David Freese used a natural Easton bat today, so I posed the question on Twitter. Lo and behold, Freese himself responded: "Said why not. Lets see what Furcal is raking with these days." So, it was an Easton, a Furcal model, and it had black handle tape. Funny thing is, Furcal hasn't used an Easton this season, though he did use the brand regularly in 2011. I also noted Easton has a new center brand for 2012 (here's the old one)... Goodbye and good luck to my friend, Jenn Jackson, who is leaving her post as registrar of the Cardinals HOF/Museum. Jenn's family is moving to KC and she soon will be working with the Royals' HOF. Among other things, Jenn was responsible for building the Cards' HOF/Museum's website.

May 4, 2012. One day after Freese used Furcal's Easton bat, Furcal decided to use one himself. Freese returned to his Marucci... Just a reminder that you can see what bats the team is using (or have used since 2005) by clicking on "Notes and Articles" above and then finding "Team Bat Use Records" in the left column... The pair of Busch II seats I mentioned on 4/29 are still available for $300 OBO, St. Louis-area pickup only... I have another 2011 World Series press pin available for $70 shipped. If you're interested in the pin or the seats, contact me at birdbats@charter.net.

May 5, 2012. I've learned the gold-accented jerseys worn by the Cardinals during the first two home games this season will be auctioned on the team's website. There will be four separate auctions in the coming weeks, and every jersey will be included. That means no jerseys will be sold in the Authentics Store -- your only chance to get one will be via the online auctions. Dates to come as soon as I know them.

May 6, 2012. Matt Holliday used a natural Old Hickory bat during his first plate appearance... Happy 15th birthday to my son, Michael!

May 7, 2012. After launching two bats into the stands during the game, Tyler Greene had to use a natural ash LS to finish a plate appearance. It may have been a Shane Robinson model. By the time he batted in the 9th inning, another of his black LS M9 bats had been retrieved from the clubhouse... A quick clarification of my 5/5 post -- not every gold-accented jersey will be auctioned online. Cardinals Care also received some jerseys, in addition to Cardinals Authentics. So, if you don't win one in the online auctions, you still could have a chance at an upcoming stadium auction or the 2013 Winter Warm Up. By my count, there were 28 players (three injured) and eight coaches in uniform on opening day. Gold-accented jerseys likely also were made for a few guys who just missed the opening day roster. If the jerseys were split evenly, both Cardinals Care and Cardinals Authentics could have as many as 22 jerseys each.

May 8, 2012. Most of us probably don't think much about the laundry tags on the inseam of Majestic jerseys beyond whether the code is retail (6200, 6300) or pro (0062, 0063). But, if you look at those tags through the years, they have changed significantly. I'm starting a project to see if we can use laundry tags to date Cardinals jersey shells and I need your help. Please go to this thread on the Birdbats forum and post photos of your Majestic tags, along with information including player, season and whether the jersey has a year flag. If enough of us participate, we might be able to paint a better picture of which laundry tags were used during which seasons. Thanks!

May 9, 2012. Tony Cruz used a black Marucci bat tonight... According to store manager Pat Daly, the Cardinals Authentic store at Busch should have a few 2012 green St. Patrick's Day jerseys in stock when the homestand opens Friday. However, no new bats or spring training jerseys... Tony La Russa's #10 will be retired Friday. And remember, Mother's Day is Sunday, which means the pink bats will be back.

May 11, 2012. Skip Schumaker was using a natural LS ash bat tonight... The auction schedule for the gold-accented jerseys was posted in the Authentics Store tonight. There will be six jerseys available in the first auction, which runs May 17-20. They include: Freese, Jay, Furcal, Matt Carpenter, Oquendo and Rzepczynski. Opening day locker plates and bases also will be auctioned.

May 12, 2012. Salas made his first plate appearance of the season; he used a Marucci bat with a black handle and natural barrel... Furcal used a Gwynn-finished Marucci... Greene used a black ash LS, a departure from his typical black maple LS.

May 13, 2012. Lots of pink wristbands, ribbons and even batting gloves for the Mother's Day game today, but only four Cardinals used pink bats. They included Jay (LS ash, entire game); Berkman (LS ash, entire game); Cruz (LS M9, entire game); and Holliday (LS M9, one pinch-hit appearance)... Thought it was odd no brand other than Louisville Slugger supplied pink bats this season, but then I read today's column in Uni Watch. Apparently, Hillerich & Bradsby -- which originated the pink bat concept -- now has the exclusive with MLB to supply pink bats. I guess I can see the company's beef. They came up with an idea, which was promptly stolen by everyone else, diluting the marketing value to H&B. At the same time, the move suggests that the whole pink bat campaign was more about marketing than charity and awareness. I'm guessing once the media is done writing pink bat fluff pieces, someone will dig up the real story about why H&B now has an exclusive on pink bats... Tyler Greene used a Marucci bat with a black barrel and natural handle. Thought that was odd since it's rare for Greene to use anything other than LS. As a consistent LS user, I can't imagine he didn't receive a pink bat to use.

May 14, 2012. Freese used a black LS M9 tonight, while Jay used a natural M9... Eduardo Sanchez made his 2012 debut wearing his typical #52... I still need help collecting photos of Majestic laundry tags (see 5/8 blog entry). Especially needed are tags from 2004-07.

May 15, 2012. Freese used a Gwynn-finished Sam Bat today and promptly broke it in two... Greene's Marucci bat is a Molina model... It will be interesting to see if Pujols' slow start (.212, 1 HR) has affected his memorabilia values. The first indication may come this weekend when SCP auctions a helmet and three of his bats. I also wonder how his 2011 regular season bat in SCP -- a cracked PSA 9 -- will fare against this uncracked PSA 10 bat on eBay, where buyers don't pay a 20% premium... This 2011 post-season bat is still being billed by SCP as "uncracked," even though the crack and repair look pretty obvious.

May 16, 2012. A final note regarding Mother's Day pink bats. It appears H&B used new labeling on the back of the barrel. Instead of the TPX logos (oval for ash, leaf for maple), H&B paired the MLB logo with the word "Authentic." I'm sure it's no coincidence that the new labeling is consistent with the jock tag on Majestic jerseys.

May 17, 2012. Descalso has been using a Gwynn-finished Rawlings with numbers blacked out on both ends, suggesting it could be another guy's bat. Craig is the only player who has been using that model/finish... Two weeks ago today, Dan Imler of SCP auctions told me "We are looking into" my concern that this 2011 post-season bat was cracked in two pieces and repaired. Nothing happened, though, until collector Jason Vahling asked for the bat's MLB hologram number. The number, FJ 880275, says the bat was, indeed, broken by Pujols during game one of the NLCS. If you look up the next number, FJ 880276, that hologram was applied to the barrel of the same bat. Clearly, the bat was broken in two pieces and repaired. Why was this so difficult to figure out? Why did SCP not change the item description until two days before the auction's end, when the issue was brought to their attention two weeks ago? And is the second hologram still on the bat, or has it been removed?

May 18, 2012. Adron Chambers made his 2012 debut as a pinch runner. He wore the same #56 as last season.

May 19, 2012. Brandon Dickson made his 2012 debut wearing the same #65 he wore in 2011.

May 20, 2012. Three straight days, three season debuts as Matt Adams joined the team. He is wearing Arthur Rhodes' former #53. Adams wore a Cool Base jersey and a COOLFLO helmet, and he swung a Max Bat with a black handle and natural barrel... Freese was back in the lineup. Among the bats he used was a Gwynn-finished Rawlings.

May 21, 2012. Matt Adams used a bat with a label I have never seen before. Will have to research this one... The first six gold-trimmed jerseys from opening day were hammered at auction last night. Freese attracted the largest bid at $2,810, followed by Jay ($1,730), Matt Carpenter ($1,500), Furcal (1,200), Rzepczynski ($656) and Oquendo ($366).

May 22, 2012. Matt Adams used a LS M9 with a black handle and natural finish. It broke during his first plate appearance... Chambers batted with a Gwynn-finished Marucci. He wore a traditional helmet and Cool Base jersey.

May 23, 2012. Steven Hill made his 2012 debut wearing the same #60 he wore during his last trip to the bigs in 2010. He wore a Cool Base jersey, a COOLFLO helmet and used a bat I can't identify... Adams sure likes to switch bats. Tonight he used a Gwynn-finished Max Bat. So far, that's four MLB games and four different bats... Freese used a black Marucci. He seems to be changing bats regularly in an effort to break his slump... On 5/15, I pondered how this PSA 9 Pujols bat from 2011 would fare against this 2011 PSA 10 Pujols bat on eBay. Well, with the buyer's premium on the SCP bat, they were about the same -- but both sold for more than 20 percent less than the 2010 PSA 7 Pujols bat that sold back in November. A better comparison of Pujols' value may be drawn from SCP's 2010 Pujols bat, which sold for just $1,986 -- a 44 percent decline compared to the similar bat that sold in November. Also consider the 2011 Pujols post-season bat attracted $3,307 and a 2011 post-season Pujols road helmet sold for $2,930. The last two Pujols helmets I recall selling on MLB auctions both went for more than $4,000, and they were unsigned, regular-season lids.

May 24, 2012. Brandon Dickson batted for the first time tonight. He swung a Marucci with a black handle and natural barrel... The bat Hill used last night (and tonight) is a D-Bat, which apparently is in the process of changing its logo again. On its website, you can find bats with three different logos.

May 25, 2012. Kyle Lohse used a black Marucci bat tonight... Chambers used both a natural and a Gwynn Marucci... I suspected Matt Adams' bat from 5/21 might be a Tucci Lumber Company bat, but the logo wasn't exactly the same. Today I heard from company founder Pete Tucci, who confirmed Adams' bat has an updated version of the company logo. Tucci Lumber was approved for MLB use this season.

May 26, 2012. Chuckie Fick made his MLB debut wearing the #44 he inherited from Erik Komatsu... Tony Cruz used a natural LS M9... Five more gold-trimmed opening day jerseys are on the auction block at cardinals.com. They include Berkman, Garcia, Lynn, Komatsu and Lilliquist. The bidding ends Sunday evening.

May 27, 2012. When Tony Cruz pinch hit mid-plate appearance for Molina today, he used one of Molina's bats... If you've checked out the Birdbats forum since Friday, you may already know I'm selling a couple of 2012 spring training jerseys on consignment. One is McGwire's and the other is Beltran's, which certainly is one of his first Cardinals jerseys. I had a Molina, but it already sold... I noticed Majestic is using a new code on its laundry tags this season. Traditionally, knit jerseys were coded 0062 and Cool Base jerseys were 0063 (retail versions were 6200 and 6300). But, the 2012 professional jerseys are coded 0620 (knit) and 0630 (Cool Base).

May 28, 2012. Memorial Day means stars and stripes caps for all MLB teams. But, this year, there are no stars nor stripes -- just camo (on the back, too). Strange approach. From a distance, the logo just looks dirty... Lynn used a black Marucci bat today... Chambers swung a natural Max Bat in the 9th inning... Final bids on the gold-trimmed, opening day jerseys that were hammered down last night: Berkman $2,360, Garcia $545, Lynn $640, Komatsu $500 and Lilliquist $630. Wow.

May 29, 2012. If you haven't blown all of your disposable income on gold-trimmed jerseys, you'll be happy to know the pink Mother's Day bats are currently being auctioned at MLB.com. The Cardinals have been notorious in past seasons for not returning their bats to MLB to be sold. But, this year, all four bats that saw game use are available, as is Furcal's unused stick. The four used bats were swing by Holliday, Berkman, Jay and Cruz.

May 30, 2012. Here's a further sign the market on Pujols is slipping: This 2011 game-used, signed bat sold for just $1,325 on eBay. However, the demand for older Pujols items remains robust, as illustrated by this 2004 bat, for which someone paid almost $4,400. That reflects the limited supply of early Pujols bats vs. the ready availability of bats from 2010-11... With that as background, if anyone wants a photo matched, 2005 Pujols bat with a team LOA for $3,600 shipped (includes a 16 x 20 color photo of the bat in use), I can hook you up.