Blog: April 2013

April 1, 2013. Opening day! As anticipated, the team unveiled its new jerseys today with the Musial patch on the left sleeve and the Newtown patch on the chest. They also wore red caps on the road (yea!) and the Rawlings S100 batting helmets... Though it was the first game, Molina's batting helmet already was caked in pine tar... Marucci was the bat of choice, used by Carpenter (Gwynn), Holliday (Gwynn), Molina (Nnywg), Beltran (natural) and Descalso (natural). Jay (natural/flame), Wainwright (natural) and Wigginton (black) swung Louisville Sluggers. Craig used a Gwynn-finished Rawlings, and Kozma wielded a black Sam Bat. For the record, since the black handle/natural barrel finish doesn't have an official name, I'm now calling it "Nnywg" -- which is "Gwynn" backward... Here is more information about the new Louisville Slugger center brand logo. This photo clearly shows the new logo being used with the new barrel labeling. They even changed the logo on the huge bat that leans against their factory. RIP, 125.

April 2, 2013. Descalso used both natural and black Marucci bats... Garcia swung a Gwynn-finished Marucci... Robinson used a natural ash Louisville Slugger with a flame finish... Mujica hadn't batted since 2011, but he took swings tonight using a black ash Louisville Slugger... Yadi's batting helmet looked a little cleaner tonight, but it's still a mess... The team wore red caps again tonight. So, which color cap -- red or navy -- won the fan vote last week? Depends on how you interpret the results. Whatever happens later in the season, it seems a given the team will wear red for the rest of this road trip.

April 3, 2013. Matt Adams became the first Redbird (to my knowledge) to use an Axis bat in a regular-season game. It was black. By the 12th inning, though, he switched to a Nnywg-finished Marucci... Lynn used a natural LS M9 bat, while Kelly swung the same bat in black... Holliday broke out a black Old Hickory model, his favorite from last season... I like how the bats in Yadi's Busch Stadium locker are still wrapped in plastic. Didn't know that's how they were shipped... Not uniform or equipment related, but I thought this photo of the outfield wall graphics at Busch being changed was interesting.

April 5, 2013. Westbrook swung a black ash Louisville Slugger... Cruz is the only position player who has not made an appearance. With Miller's start tomorrow, all pitchers will have thrown in 2013... Collector's Corner in O'Fallon, Ill., will have Bob Gibson in its store next Saturday, April 13, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Autograph prices start at $49 and go up to $69 for bats, jerseys and other large items. And on June 22, Allen Craig will be in the store. His prices are $39-49. Inscriptions are extra for both guests, and JSA will be authenticating on site. For more information, call (618) 206-8777 or check out ecollectorscorner.com.

April 6, 2013. Shelby Miller used a black Tucci Lumber bat, but it looked more like a dark shade of gray.

April 7, 2013. Ryan Jackson swung a black LS M9. He had one AB during the marathon in Arizona the other night, but my DVR stopped before he batted... Tony Cruz took his first swings of the season using a black Marucci... Mark Rzepczynski actually made a plate appearance. He used a natural ash LS.

April 8, 2013. It looks like Garcia is the first Redbird to use the redesigned Louisville Slugger. It was black, and I'm assuming it was maple... Freese used a Gwynn Marucci in his 2013 debut... The Authentics Store didn't have much new in the way of game-used inventory, other than jerseys from the St. Patty's game from last month. However, there is a huge rack of blank jerseys for $120 each in many sizes. I suspected this would happen given the jersey changes for 2013, but am disappointed that nothing has been done to the offered shirts to mark them as blanks. At this point, anyone can buy a legit, pro blank (0062 and 0063 laundry tag codes) and mock it up any way they like... Stadium prices for game used bats this season are here... Saw this bat in the rack for sale with a blank MLB hologram. That's going to be a tough one to authenticate... The Cardinals Care auction kiosks have implemented a new policy this season. Instead of auctions ending with the first pitch in the bottom of the seventh inning, they'll now end with the last out of the bottom of the fifth.

April 9, 2013. At the Cardinals Care stadium auction tonight, a Jon Jay home 2011 World Series jersey sold for $500, while a Shane Robinson bat went for $100.

April 10, 2013. The team will be using a special ball for Friday night's game. Stan Musial will be honored prior to first pitch, and the game balls will have a one-time-only logo featuring The Man... The team will auction on its website 10 St. Patty's Day jerseys starting Thursday.

April 12, 2013. At least some of the special Stan Musial logo baseballs used during tonight's game will be sold at the stadium's Authentics Store. Given the low score and fast pace of the game, I'm guessing they went through fewer balls than anticipated. Whatever number of balls that become available will cost $200 plus tax. If you want one, it might be a good idea to go to Saturday's game... When I was at Busch earlier this week, I heard several people ask about the availability of the Musial memorial sleeve patch. Well, it seems those patches finally are on sale at stadium souvenir shops... Holliday used a black LS M9 bat... Freese appeared to be using a natural Louisville Slugger, the new style.

April 13, 2013. The Cardinals unveiled the new alternate uniform today. May seem odd, but I think my favorite aspect of the new unis is the trim down the pantleg. I may be alone here, but I think I'd like the jersey better without the number on front. The decender of the "L" forces the numbers to be placed too low... Today, I stumbled into a conversation with a gentleman who turned out to be the MLB authenticator at last night's game. He told me only 40 balls were authenticated during the game. That's an unusually small amount. If I recall correctly, about six dozen balls are prepared for each game. During the broadcast today, it was noted that the game-used balls already were sold out... Beltran used a Nnwyg-finished Marucci... Freese used a Gwynn-finished Rawlings for the first time this year.

April 14, 2013. Jon Jay is using the new-style Louisville Slugger. You can see the barrel in this shot... Brian Hillerich of H&B posted on Game Used Universe (scroll down to post #7) that his company has had some production challenges with the new LS bats. He also said a few players have requested, through their equipment managers, that their bats continue to be made with the old logos. Interesting... Just a reminder, all players on the team will honor Jackie Robinson tomorrow by wearing his #42. I'm most interested to see if they'll be wearing red or navy caps since it will be their first road trip since the fan poll was conducted.

April 15, 2013. It's Jackie Robinson day, so everyone wore #42... Freese swung both Gwynn- and Nnwyg-finished Maruccis. Wonder if the Nnywg bat was Matt Adams' stick, based on this BP photo... This is kind of insane. So is this. I'll assume the bidders are doing it for charity and not as an investment... I hear through the grapevine that the Musial-logo balls used on Friday sold in 15 minutes on Saturday.

April 16, 2013. Rain out. Just ignore everything you saw during the first two innings. Those bats weren't officially "used."

April 17, 2013. Another round of St. Patrick's Day jerseys will be auctioned on the team's website beginning tomorrow. This set includes prospects Oscar Taveras and Kolten Wong... Rumor has it the team will wear navy caps tomorrow in Philadelphia... This Mac bat is bogus on so many levels. It appears to be a cheap, souvenir bat on which someone stamped faux production data into the knob. The signature and pine tar application look terrible, too.

April 18, 2013. As anticipated, the team wore navy caps and helmets for the first time this season. Not coincidentally, it was the first time the Cards played a red-capped opponent on the road.

April 19, 2013. Navy caps again... Holliday swung a new-style Louisville Slugger, black and likely maple. But, he switched back to Old Hickory after one AB.

April 20, 2013. Just a reminder that I'm tracking the bats players use again this season. You can find the 2013 list here.

April 21, 2013. Matt Carpenter was using a black Marucci bat tonight... Jon Jay used a black bat for two ABs. I'm not certain, but it appeared to be one of Carpenter's black Marucci bats (pretty sure I saw #13 on the knob)... In what I consider a fairly big upset, Kolten Wong's St. Patrick's Day jersey sold for more ($715) than Oscar Taveras' jersey ($711) did. Of the 10 jerseys that ended in tonight's auction, only two others (Craig and Rosenthal) surpassed $290. In last week's auction, every jersey sold for at least $315.

April 22, 2013. The Cards wore red caps on the road against a team wearing red caps. Did not see that coming, but I love it.

April 23, 2013. I'm intrigued by this 1982 Ozzie Smith jersey currently offered by SCP Auctions, mostly because another 1982 Ozzie Smith jersey was sold by Grey Flannel in November 2011. It is not the same shirt, though I suspected initially it might be. Both are tagged "Set 1," both are size 38, both have the Boyer memorial armband intact, and both item descriptions reference the jerseys as once being framed. I thought perhaps the buyer of the GF jersey may have had it cleaned professionally, which could have sacrificed the signature, requiring it to be signed again (in a different spot). Based on additional photos provided by the auction houses, though, I now know these are not the same shirts. The evidence hides inside the left sleeves, where you can see how the memorial bands were attached. Based on my research, my exemplars and those of other collectors, I believe the memorial bands were sewn on originally with a zigzag stitch. In this comparison photo, you can see the GF jersey's band has a single, straight stitch -- but a zigzag pattern is visible below the stitch. I believe this could be because the band was restored on a jersey on which the band had been removed. On the SCP jersey, the band is attached with parallel straight stitches, but there is no evidence of a zigzag pattern. To the right at top is a Hal Lanier jersey that still has its original band. Below that is a Tom Herr home jersey, on which the band was removed, but the zigzag pattern remains visible. There are two other things to consider about Ozzie's 1982 jerseys. First, jerseys with the memorial band intact are rare; most bands were stripped so the jerseys could be reused. And second, in 1982, Ozzie was just beginning to earn his fame. At the time, it wasn't typical for even star players to have more than a couple home jerseys, so why would Ozzie? In addition to the SCP and GF jerseys, I'm aware of one other '82 Ozzie jersey; it was sold by Hartel Sports to a Chicago-area collector. It's a home shirt, size 40, with no memorial band. I am not willing to pronounce the SCP Ozzie jersey as being less-than-advertised without having it in my hands to examine. I do, however, think it's wise to consider all evidence and to approach it with a critical eye.

April 24, 2013. Jay used one of Descalso's natural Marucci bats today... I'm trying to raise funds for a potential acquisition, so if you're interested in this 2004-05 Pujols signed, uncracked, game-used bat ($2,600 OBO) or this well-worn, dual-signed pair of 2004 Pujols cleats with dirt caked on ($1,100 OBO), let me know. Prices include shipping in the lower 48.

April 26, 2013. With Matt Adams sent to the DL, the team called up infielder Jermaine Curtis. Curtis didn't see action tonight, but when he does take the field, he'll be wearing Skip Schumaker's #55... David Freese used a black Rawlings bat for the first time in 2013. You'll recall that's the model he swung to cement his name in baseball history.

April 27, 2013. Jermaine Curtis made his MLB debut today wearing the Saturday alternate uniform with #55 on the back. He used a black bat, but I couldn't make out the brand.

April 28, 2013. I've decided Jermaine Curtis' bat is dark brown, not black. But, I still can't determine what brand it is. Can you?... Someone paid almost $8,300 for this Ozzie Smith jersey in SCP's auction. As I noted on 4/23, I'm not convinced it lives up to its billing... It appears the new normal for Musial jerseys is around $50K... This Gibson jersey suggests that, while the market is slow for common jerseys, older Hall of Famer shirts remain strong... The other Ozzie jersey in SCP's auction, a probable unworn giveaway shirt (Ozzie supposedly ordered and gave away dozens of jerseys in '96), sold for $3,700 with buyer's premium. I don't get it.

April 29, 2013. When the Cards' new uniforms were unveiled last November, I was told players' names would be embroidered into the tails of their jerseys. This shot of Carlos Beltran shows that is, indeed, the case... The consensus of collectors with whom I've compared notes is that Jermaine Curtis' bat is a Viper... Seth Maness was called up today, but did not play. He will wear #61.