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Jul 25, 2008

Notes In Bushings Mailbag by David Bushing



Q: I'm inquiring about an appraisal on a publication titled "Famous Sluggers of 1929". It includes batting records for Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Rogers Hornsby, Travis Jackson, L.Goslin, Paul Waner, Lloyd Waner, Jim Bottomley, H.Cuyler, Ty Cobb, George Sisler, & Larry Heilman. It also includes numerous pictures, signatures, a list of leading sluggers of the 1929 season, Champion batters of 54 seasons (dating 1876-1929), important batting record for 54 years, & articles on "How to become a successful batter. Can you please get back to me at your convenience?

A: This was the last year of the large size Famous Sluggers series that they started putting out in 1921 that listed stats along with product line. In 1930, they went to a smaller 3 x 5.5” glossy cover version. Mint examples of the pre 1930 versions generally sell in the $100-200 range while the 1930 and later versions start on the high side in the $50-75 range and go down as the decades march on. They are highly sought after by bat collectors for their information.

Q: I was given your name as an authority on major league bats. I was just given a dozen old Louisville slugger bats that were collected by a ball/bat boy during the 1970"s. One is marked MC44 with the name Solomon under it. One says” Official ' "Roberto Clemente" "Special". One says "Genuine" "Nelson Fox".

What is the difference between "Genuine" and "Official"?

Are there other markings I need to be looking for to determine the value of these bats? I also have several "Bat Day" bats, as well as bats with bat boy’s names and the year burned into them. Is there any value to these?

A: The Solomon bat could be Eddie Solomon who played from 1973-83 and the model number on the barrel did not start until 1976 but without pics, I cannot pinpoint date but definitely a game bat, not a store model. If there was a uniform number on the knob, it would help nail down player but if Eddie Solomon, it would be valued in the $75 range. The Clemente Special is a cheaper store model bat and again, sans pics, cannot nail down date but it would be worth less than $100 even if mint.

Genuine is the terminology used above the signature on game model Louisville bats beginning around 1930 but some store model bats have the same slogan so without pics , dimensions, and model numbers , I cannot say if you have a game or store model bat. Values on nice 1940-50’s Nellie Fox gamers would be in the $2000-3000 range while store models bring less than $100. No game used Louisville bats will be found marked “Official”

Bat day bats, if stamped with famous players and in mint condition generally sell in the $50-150 range depending on age and player. If marked with bat boys name, of no real collector value to my knowledge.

Q. Mr. Bushing, My name is Mike Parmentier from L&M Vintage Baseball Collectibles LLC. I have submitted a pair of Game Worn 1967 Steve Carlton Spikes to Mears. Andrew suggested you as a point of expertise to maybe giving me an idea of value for these, if they turn out to be authentic, Could you help me determine a "ball park” figure? Thank you for your time, and expertise!

A. Carlton is a very popular player and I would expect that they would sell in the $1500 retail range. He was 14-9 with the World Champion Cardinals that season. His Phillies stuff seems to be a bit more desirable but to a Cardinal fan, these cleats, if they can be identified, would be a prize.

Q. Your name was provided by the Hillerich & Bradsby Company as someone who could provide data on the following bat. I has and has had a bat with Jackie Robinson’s signature. Is a bat made by Hillerich & Bradsby Co... It states:

LOUISVILLE SLUGGER (R)

125

Hillerich & BRADSBY

Louisville KENTUCKY

GENUINE R17

JACKIE ROBINSON SIGNATURE

How old is this bat and what is it worth and its authenticity.

A: You do not mention length (should be stamped on knob if a store model bat i.e. 34” or JR4) or if any stamps exist on knob. The fact that the model number appears on the barrel indicates the earliest date of mfg in 1976 and no later than 1980. If it is stamped with length on knob, then it would sell in the $25-50 range. If a pro stock bat with nothing stamped on knob but made well after he played, it might sell in the $200 range. In either case, it is not a rare player bat from his active baseball days.

Q. Dear Sir,

I recently purchased this jersey as stated above. Please let me know where I can reach you to verify that the number on the paperwork is authentic. It is your certificate number 259307.

A: Any member of MEARS can, at any time. Plug in the cert number and read a copy of said letter that will enable the buyer to make sure the item they are being offered with a MEARS cert is indeed, the shirt that was issued that number. You will find it listed on LOO on file.

Q. I have a Robert Clemente Louisville Slugger and I was wondering if you could help me find its value. I think it's from the 1960's. There is no R above the Powerized label. The & symbol is directly under the 1 in 125. The base of the handle has a RC5 on it. The bottom loop of the P does not intersect the vertical line of the P. The bat is in excellent shape. My uncle was a professional baseball player in the 30's and 40's. He gave this to me years ago. You can see someone has used it because their is a faint difference in color where the bat would be wrapped with tape. What do you estimate it's value?

I also have an all star ring from the 40's. My uncle was a all-star for the Montgomery Alabama Rebels. His name was John Sosh. He caught for the "Rifleman" Chuck Connors with the Mobile Bears. I think it may hold significant value. I'd appreciate any help you could give me.

A: Your 1960’s Robert (Roberto) Clemente bat is a store model as evidenced by the knob stamp (RC5) stands for Robert Clemente 35” while a game bat would have a model number of one letter followed by one-three numbers i.e. U1, K55, G169 etc. As a vintage store model bat, if minty, might sell in the $75-125 range. As for the ring, I would value it in the $1000 range, a bit more based on gold content (wt) and any valuable stones, both of which would increase value.

Q: How much is a Cal Ripken Jr. game used cracked bat model # F149 worth? What years did he use this model?

A. You don’t list any center brand or barrel stamps and values are based on several factors such as era, use, uniform number on knob, flaws, markings, etc. You also don’t tell me the length or weight so it is hard to determine if you have a factory documented game bat as having been ordered and shipped to Ripken Jr. Ripken ordered 35” F149 models in various finishes between 1986-89. A nice 86-89 Ripken with good use should sell in the $2500 range, maybe a bit more if pounded with uniform number on knob.

Q. I have a 33" Mickey Mantle Louisville Slugger Grand Slam model bat in mint condition with cellophane sleeve and original box. It is a grade 180 flame tempered and it is not a Hillerich and Bradsby. Any info on a ballpark value would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

A: They dropped the H&B logo in 1980 so your post 1980 store model bat, even if mint in box, would not sell for much more than $100.

Q: I found an old Louisville Baseball bat No.10. It appears to be made of ash or perhaps oak. The interesting thing is that the label runs vertically rather than the usual horizontal configuration. The marking is in the shape of a horseshoe with "Louisville Bat Co." written around the outside of the horseshoe. Below the horseshoe is written "Louisville KY" Within the horseshoe is written "No.10" When I found it was in a very old and weathered oil cloth canvas bag. Any Ideas regarding value or age would be appreciated. Sorry I do not have, nor do I know how to send you a picture.

A: The Louisville Bat company with their familiar horseshoe logo along with the mascot model were sold to the H&B company in the 1920’s and they kept the line for a few years offering signature model bats of both minor league players as well as some H&B endorsees such as Rogers Hornsby. Unfortunately, your non player model bat is probably only worth around $50-100.

Q: HI, I was told by L.S. to contact you with my questions. I have a bat, model 125S, Jackie Robinson special….evidently a “retail” bat. From the info on the LS website (and trade mark design), it appears it was only available prior to 1963. Could you please tell me what type of wood it is? I understand 125 means the highest quality wood. When was this model discontinued? Did pro batters preferences cause its demise? Was it a design specially made for Jackie Robinson? Is the 125S simply a replica of the Jackie Robinson bat? Finally, do the “rings” in a wood bat have any correlation to its quality? For instance, from my experience with wood, the closer the rings are to each other means the tree was a slow growth tree, meaning stronger wood. Also, the number of rings would seem to indicate how old the tree might have been. I count about 20 rings in my bat. I am wondering how old the trees are that are used today to make bats (ash, maple, etc.) Thank you.

A: The special is a retail or store model and was a scaled down version based on an actual game model Robinson bat but a bit shrunken for younger players. During this era, the 125 model was the best wood but players generally want wide grain or about ½” between grains on the hitting surface. They have and still use second growth ash for most of their wooden bats. It is described as follows:

First Rate Second Growth. Ash trees grow plentifully in the United States and elsewhere in North America and the rest of the world. The United States is home to about 17 of the more than 70 species that exist worldwide. White ash and closely related species are sometimes used interchangeably, although white ash is considered to possess the best qualities.

“Normally the quantity of white ash in the woodlot will not be more than four percent of the total stand of timber,” Culross Peattie writes. “Fortunately, very large and ancient trees are not required for most of the uses to which ash is put. On the contrary, the toughest, strongest and soundest white ash with the greatest proportion of the pale sapwood that retail buyers prefer, is cut from the fast growing, comparatively young trees of second growth, such as commonly constitute most of the woodlots of the eastern states.”

The USDA’s “Wood Handbook — Wood as an Engineering Material,” says, “Second-growth commercial white ash is particularly sought because of the inherent qualities of this wood. It is heavy, strong, hard, and stiff and has high resistance to shock.”

Q: I was referred to you by the Louisville Slugger Museum. I have a really nice piece that I am considering selling, but honestly do not how to go about it. Let me first explain what I have. I have a book commemorating the 1983 season of the Louisville Redbirds where they set a record by drawing one million fans (the old AAA affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals). The book is very nice, detailing the entire season. My grandfather actually did all of the photography, and this is one of his signed copies that he gave to me a while back. In celebration, the team brought in many Hall of Famers. The cover page of this book is signed by the following players: I count 17 Hall of Famers.

Mickey Mantle

Joe DiMaggio

Warren Spahn

Hank Aaron

Ernie Banks

Carl Hubbell

Pee Wee Reese

Harmon Killebrew

Ralph Kiner

Stan Musial

Allie Reynolds

Buck Leonard

Bob Lemon

Johnny Bench

Carl Erskine

Bill Dickey

Vida Blue

Eddie Matthews

George Kell

I have a couple questions. Would you happen to have an idea of what this piece could be worth? Also, if I did sell, what would be the best way to do it?

A: With more than seven of the above Hall of Famers now deceased and a few of those you listed such as Blue, Erskine, and Reynolds are not in the Hall, it does indeed have value but they (autographs) are not from their playing days and besides being at the event, have very little correlation to each other and collectors don’t seem to have a huge appetite for misc signed commemorative programs and I would value your piece in the $500-750 range at best.

Q. I found your name on the Louisville Slugger website and I wanted to know the value of the vintage bats I have been collecting for a few years.

Two little league bats:

-31 inch Hillerich & Bradsby Cesar Cedeno

-H & B Mickey Mantle little league bat

Three full size bats:

-34 inch Hillerich & Bradsby Jackie Robinson (JR4 on knob)

-35 inch Hillerich & Bradsby Enos Slaughter with (REG. U.S. PAT. OFF.) Under the logo (35 on knob)

-34 inch Hillerich & Bradsby Roger Maris (RM4 on Knob)

I have attached pictures of each bat. Please contact me if you need more information.

A: Well, all of the bats listed are store model or retail bats. The Slaughter bat is the oldest but even if gem mint NOS, these type bats seldom top the $100 range and used, they are all in the $20-75 range except the little league bats which seldom bring more than $10-20, even if one is a Mantle as Mantle store bats are common and most collectors do not want anything marked Little League.

Q: I have an old Spalding Model 1331 First baseman’s mitt that I am looking to sell. My Grandfather passed on to me years ago. The glove is in great shape. It is not torn or dry rotted at all. You can still read all of the original writing on the glove. I have attached some pictures for your review. I am only to sell out of necessity.

A: You have a well used but cared for post war non player endorsed Trapper model first baseman’s mitt (introduced around 1941) and as such, has almost no secondary market collector value which in a way is a good thing as it will not net you enough cash to buy a tank of gas so it should stay in the family as the memories are far more valuable than the secondary market value.

Q: My father has a bat donated by Bing Crosby in 1949 which is a Louisville slugger Powerized 125 with a Hank Greenburg signature .I think that looking at the style of bat that is in the Louisville slugger web site it is a 1947 bat. If you could find the time to give me a rough estimate of a price if any of the bat I would be grateful as baseball is not a big sport in Australia (sorry)

A: Really need some photographs as it is always possible that you have a pro model game bat of Greenberg that even sans any use, would still be worth a couple of thousand dollars if made to his specs and produced at the same time Greenberg was still an active player. Is there a model number on the knob? What does the center brand and barrel brand say? What is the length? I need this info.

Q: I have an old Louisville Slugger bat I inherited from my grandfather who died in the 1940's. It's 35 inches long, used - the lower handle is lighter in color than the business part of the bat and it has the Louisville Slugger trademark with a "40 G.S." above the Hillerich Bradsby Co name. Could you tell me what the "40 G.S." means and about when it would have been made? Thank you for any insight you can provide; I’d like to pass it on to my grandson who is an 11 year old catcher/outfielder and loves the game.

A: The GS stands for St. Louis Browns first baseman George Sisler. If his name is not burned into the barrel end of the bat, then it was issued as a decal or picture bat and if you look close, you will probably see little specs of color on the barrel from the decal. As such, if the decal is shot, then your bat is not worth much more than $50-75 Sisler played from 1915-27 with the Brownies and finished his career with the Braves in 1930. He also played for Washington in 1928.

Q: I have a Ted Williams Louisville Slugger bat given to me by my uncle, in about 1955. at the top of the barrel, is Ted Williams’s engraved signature, the word "Special" above that and Louisville Slugger below his name. On the middle of The bat, inside the HILLERICH & BRADSBY logo, is 125S. On the butt end of the Handle, 35 is engraved in (35 oz.), I would guess? How can I find out if this? Was an actual game bat and its worth?

A: The term special is applied to store model bats that are patterned after a real Ted Williams model yet has been scaled down for use by younger players. As such, they usually sell in the 450-100 range depending on condition.




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