Ron Cey’s first order for the Hillerich & Bradsby model C300 was on January 25th 1979. The C300 was made for Cey off of the Adirondack model 256B. The C300 is the only bat shown in his personal order sheet for 1979 and 1980. His last order for the 1979 season was on August 29th 1979 and his first order for 1980 is not listed until March 21st 1980.
Joe Ferguson can be seen with bat featuring a center-brand most commonly associated with the 1980-1983 period. The 1981 Dodgers yearbook shows similar pictures (same setting/backdrop) of Garvey and Guerrero as those of Cey and Ferguson. The Garvey and Guerrero photos don’t permit you see the bat center- brand, but they are wearing their home uniforms with the 1980 All Star Game patch.
All of this brings up some interesting points. If the bat Cey is holding in the 1980 photograph is a carryover from 1979, then this bat would had to have been carried over at least eight months as the photograph does not appear to be from the Dodger’s spring training facility. By April 14th 1980, Cey had already ordered 48 additional C300s. The Dodgers opened the 1980 season on the road and did not return home to play until April 17th 1980 against the Houston Astros. As such, the photograph of Cey is very likely from April 17th or beyond.
This leaves us with two ways to explain the bat Cey is holding:
1. It is carry over from 1979. This would be if he chose to use a bat ordered some 8 months previously after he had already ordered 48 of the same model, length, and weight by this time. Why order almost 50 more C300s if you still had and were still satisfied with the ones you had from eight months ago?
2. Some bats in manufactured in 1980 were in fact branded like those from the commonly accepted 1977-1979 period.
When you combine this with the fact that we know some (albeit maybe very few) bats from 1976 were in fact branded in the 1977-1979 convention, I am more inclined to believe that the nice neat conventions collectors and authenticators want to believe in are not just as absolute as we have been lead to believe or hoped for. Please know I am not advocating a call of a general 1976-1980 Hillerich & Bradsby labeling category to account for this. I am advocating what I have been proffering for years, that being do not simply accept something because it is what you have always been told.
As always, collect what you enjoy and enjoy what you collect.
MEARS Auth, LLC
For questions or comments on this article, please feel free to drop me a line at DaveGrob1@aol.com