I have always been a “hands-on collector”. By this I mean the items that I have in my collection are very accessible to me and to those that wish to see them. I have never had a single item enclosed in glass or framed. Much of this has been necessitated by the fact, that at least with my jerseys, I am always taking them down to use them as references or change them out simply for display purposes.
While I have never really considered myself “a bat collector”, I have owned a number of them over the years. At one time in my Cincinnati Reds collecting and researching peak, I owned around 50 gamers spanning the 1940’s through the 1990s. I found a couple of drawbacks to all of this being what to do them with them during the frequent military moves and how best to display them.
One of the most striking bat displays in my mind can be found on the cover of the book BATS: Professional Hillerich & Bradsby and Adirondack, 1950-1994 by Vince Malta, Ronald Foxx, Bill Riddell, and Michael Specht. The thing I always found myself doing when looking at this natural and impressive dugout array of lumber, was canting the cover 90 degrees so that I could see the majority of the bats in a horizontal fashion. I just loved seeing the bats in a flat or “left to right eye” pattern. I knew that for me, this is how I wanted to display my bats.
While I have seen a number of commercial products on the market that permit this effect, I was not a fan of “gun rack” design as the bats seemed “boxed in.” Nor was I a fan of the Plexiglas showdown boxes that permit the same display effect. I like to be able to just pick up a bat and hold it or swing it when the mood strikes me. Still, there are those display racks that permit a horizontal display, but the bats always seemed almost hidden by the cupping of the construction. In short, I did not know what I wanted but knew that I would know what it was when I saw it.
In recent months I have written about various manufacturers and aspects of looking at bats from a “different angle” so to speak. I decided the other day to spend some time walking through the Home Organization section of the local Lowe’s Hardware Store to see what I could see. I didn’t see anything in the shelving section that caught my eye and was about to give up when I walked past the various coat/jacket organizers. I noticed some very simple, unfinished (and inexpensive) wooden racks designed to hold four coats/jackets. Then it hit me…I did the same thing in my mind that I had done for years with the cover of BATS…I rotated the racks by 90 degrees and found what I was looking for.
What I like about using these racks as a bat display option are:
1. The Price. At around $6.00 it comes out to $12.00 to display four bats.
2. They are unfinished so they could be painted to match a team color if I ever went back to that sort of theme.
3. The cut of the peg is both small in diameter and has a recess at the end. This shows off more of the bat and provides a means to keep them from “rolling off.”
4. Ease of installation.
5. Freedom of access to the bats.
All of this has caused me to re-look the look of my “baseball room.” I have noticed that many of my jersey displays have a space just about as wide as a bat is long between them. Now that I have a simple, attractive, and affordable way to display bats in the manner that I like, I may end up picking up more of them and starting some other various bat themes, one of those is already in the works and will be the subject of an article in July around All Star Game time.
As always, collect what you enjoy and enjoy your collection…with bats, I now feel I really can, especially since Army moves are thing of the past.
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