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Should a 2003 Sam Bat have a Wilson logo?
The owner of this Pujols bat on eBay seems to have a problem with me. So, let's present some facts in response to his diatribe.
When the same bat appeared in Grey Flannel's most recent auction, I sent an email to John Taube of PSA/DNA asking if he'd ever seen the Wilson logo on a Sam Bat made prior to 2004. For a short while, Sam Bat and Wilson had a distribution agreement, and the Wilson logo appeared on the barrels of Sam Bats during this time.
In 2007, I surveyed collectors on the Game Used Universe message board in an effort to learn more about the production codes written on the ends of Sam Bats. Not only did patterns emerge regarding the codes, but also with the barrel stampings. Of 144 bats submitted via the site and emails, 32 had either a large or small Wilson logo on the barrel -- and all were produced in 2004 or 2005. Every pre-2004 bat offered, including a Rondell White bat dated 1/21/04, had either "Rideau Crusher" or nothing below the players' names.
Sam Bat's reps do not know the exact date the company signed its agreement with Wilson, and the only article I can find on the Internet is this one from the spring of 2005 that says Sam "recently inked a distribution deal" with Wilson. So, given what I know, seeing a Wilson logo on a bat with a manufacture date of 3/13/03 is cause for suspicion.
With this brought to his attention, Taube contacted Sam Bat. Taube initially was told that based on the code, the bat was made for a dealer and should have a blank barrel (see my May 8,2013 blog entry). After Sam Bat's rep saw photos of the bat, he reiterated that the code had nothing to do with Pujols, but suggested that maybe the code was written incorrectly.
That suggested two possibilities. The first is that the code was written incorrectly and the Wilson logo is legit, predating other similarly marked bats by several months. The second is that the code is correct, the bat was made with a blank barrel and the barrel stamping was added after the fact. Some, including Taube, question how a forgery could be so convincing. But, it's not like someone needed to forge a brand and burn it into a bat. Anyone with a camera and the ability to create rub-on transfers or do screen printing could take a photo of a Pujols Sam Bat from 2005 and replicate the lettering.
I assume Taube and Grey Flannel ultimately decided the probability of the bat being faked was greater than the probability of a March 2003 Sam Bat having the wrong code and a Wilson logo. I probably need to make it clear that I had nothing to do with the decision to pull the bat from Grey Flannel's auction. I never contacted the auction house. The decision to pull the bat was made by Taube and Grey Flannel, based on the information they received from me and from Sam Bat. Also, the decision had nothing to do with my opinions regarding Pujols bats. My inquiry to Taube was about Sam Bats and the Wilson logo. If the bat had been an Eric Chavez model, I would have the same question about the Wilson logo.
That said, I find it interesting that the only pre-2004 Sam Bats I've seen with a Wilson logo are all Pujols bats. There's the bat in question; a bat from 2002 that appeared on eBay in April 2012; and one reviewed by PSA/DNA dated 8/15/03. Of course, I pay closer attention to Pujols bats than to those attributed to other players, so others could be out there.
One final point. The seller of the bat on eBay commented that I say "negative stuff" about his bats and then make low offers for them -- and that he has proof. The bat to which he refers is this 2005 Pujols Marucci bat, which has been listed on eBay for several months. When I first saw it, I sent him this terribly offensive message: "Cool bat, Scott. Almost certainly a BP bat. It's an Eduardo Perez model (EP33), which is interesting because Jack Marucci and Eduardo were buddies and Eduardo was one of the first guys to use a Marucci in 2003. Marucci gave Pujols bats around that same time, but he used them strictly for BP until April 2007 when he finally used one in a game. Even more interesting -- the only Cardinals player I noted using Marucci in 2005 was Chris Carpenter, and according to my notes, Pujols' name was on the barrel." His reply was an equally hate-filled: "Thanks a lot for your time and info, Thanks again Scott." I offered him $500 for the bat, knowing Albert didn't use Marucci until 2007. At best, it is a BP bat or a bat used by Carpenter. Considering Albert's eventual history with Marucci, though, I thought it was a neat conversation piece. He rejected my offer and that was that (though the description still says, "Albert Pujols for sure went to the plate a couple times with this gamer").
Now, I'm not interested in Pujols' bathroom habits, as the seller suggests in his eBay listing. But, I do love research and would welcome any information other collectors have about Sam Bats. If you have a Sam Bat with a Wilson logo -- belonging to any player -- and that bat predates 2/3/04, please let me know. I don't do this blog to "get in other people's business," and if I make any false statements, they're purely unintentional. My goal is to provide facts and information that help buyers make informed decisions. So, if we can make a case that the Wilson logo is appropriate on a Sam Bat made in March 2003, I'd be happy to help Scott sell his bat.