June 16th, 2006
Updates featured on the MEARS bat label index
Throughout the course of each month, MEARS is asked to evaluate many different bats produced by a myriad of manufactures. One of the first steps in evaluation of bats is examining the centerbrand. The examination helps the authenticator to determine if the bat was offered as a professional model and to help date the era of issuance.
From our start, we built a database of bat center labels. The labels are available to MEARS members and are arranged by photo, year, title, and comments A recent upgrade to the site makes it very easy for our staff to add previously uncataloged labels to the database. With the entry into the market of many upstart companies such as Diablo Bat, X Bats, Sam Bats, Kissimee Sticks, etc, this database is a must.
Currently in our database we have the following bat labels listed:
Louisville Slugger, 33 label periods featured, ranging from 1897 to 2005. Our updates included the recently introduced Maple bats, the B9 birch bats, and a 40K label from the 1920s.
Adirondack, 5 label periods featured, ranging from 1951 to 1982.
Rawlings, 5 label periods featured, ranging from 1983 to 2001.
Carolina Clubs, 1 label featured dated to 2004. New label data is a focus of a current resource project and additions will be announced on the MEARS bulletin.
Cooper, 2 label periods featured, ranging from the late 1980’s to 1990’s.
D-Bats, 1 label period featured from the 2002-2003 era.
Easton, 2 label periods featured, ranging from 2000-2004.
Glomar Enterprises, 1 label period featured from the 1996 season.
Hanna Batrite, 3 label periods featured, ranging from 1920’s to 1950’s. A new breakthrough was recently uncovered by MEARS of a wire photo of the circa 1950s New York Yankees bat boy with a several Hanna Batrite photos in the home dugout. This supported the photo in our library of the Eddie Mathews holding a Batrite during the same time period.
Hoosier, 3 label periods, ranging from 1996 to 2001.
Kren’s, 1 label period from the 1920’s featured.
Lucky Special, 1 label period from the 1887-1910 era.
Mizuno, 7 label periods featured, ranging from 1981-2005. Should be noted that Pete Rose was the major leaguer to popularize the brand.
Nike, 2 label periods, 2004 to 2005 era.
Sam Bat, 1 label period from the 2000 to 2003 era. Barry Bonds has popularized this manufacturer and we are studying our submissions and will post the updates as soon as they are complete.
Spalding, 2 label periods, ranging 1908-1920.
Tom Cat, 1 label period from the 2001 era.
Worth, 4 label periods, ranging from 1983 to 1995.
Zinn Beck, 6 label periods ranging from 1924 to 1930.
The biggest challenge of maintaining the database comes with the influx of the new manufactures. Many of the companies exit the market after only a year or two of bat production. This makes it difficult to establish bat label dating. MEARS has introduced the player bat index feature, free to any bat enthusiast, which is designed to chart the manufactures used by the games top stars. This featured helped us identify Robinson Cano using an Old Hickory bat. With continued diligence, MEARS will be able to offer a very well organized database to aid collectors in there own bat research.
Troy R. Kinunen