Today’s article touches on college and the use of alcohol. Stay with me here as this is not about making some sort of moral or political statement. Many folks would agree that spending time in college can help increase one’s personal value and alcohol can be a hindrance to this. While this may or may not be true for people, what I want to talk about today are bats.
Colleges and Universities have long ordered “Index bats” from Hillerich and Bradsby/Louisville Slugger. Many of these offerings are by length, weight, and model the same as ordered by the player whose name appears branded into the barrel. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately in this case, the college or university will have its name branded either between the center brand and signature or below the signature in place of “Louisville Slugger.” While these college or university bats have value, the value in no way compares to that of real gamer. So if you are a bat, spending time in college is not necessarily a good thing as far as value goes. This brings us to the use of alcohol.
I will say without shame that MEARS endorses the use of alcohol in the workplace. Notice I did not say consumption. Recently I looked at a Duke Snider 1950-1960 H&B C117L model bat. The bat was consistent with what “The Duke of Flatbush” had ordered by model, length and weight. In looking at this bat, what concerned me was the coloration of the bat. It showed the same color and finish in places that I have seen on bats that had been repaired. On these repaired bats, finish is reapplied in layers to mask cracks and to blend the work into the rest of the bat. This is done to improve the visual appeal of the bat for the owner. In this case, the Sinder bat showed no signs that it had been cracked, so I was curious as to why this coloration was present. To be very honest,the bat did not look too bad. Anyway, I was particularly concerned with the area between the center brand and the signature on the barrel because this area showed both the coloration and soiling. Break out the alcohol.
With the owner’s permission, I began to work rubbing alcohol into the area with my index finger. Rubbing alcohol is preferred as opposed to something stronger. I use my finger because what I am feeling for are signs of stamping underneath the finish. If after a bit of work I don’t feel anything, I will stop. The visual effect of this check on the bat is then really not noticeable and some rubbing with a damp cotton towel can blend the area back in.
In this case, I began to feel outlines of stamping. Once again, with the owner’s permission, I used more alcohol and a cotton towel. At this point the words “ WASH & LEE” became very clear(Washington & Lee University, VA). The person faking this bat first filled in the stamping of the WASH & LEE with what appears to be common wood puddy. Nevertheless, the stamping was still was present. Had an attempt been made to sand this area down to remove the “WASH & LEE” before the masking finish was applied, this would have created an irregularity in the surface that would have been seen during a visual inspection of the area across the both the vertical and horizontal axis of the bat. As you can see, the faker is really only left with two choices, fill in or file down. If you are reading this and you faked this bat, your preferred method did not work.
The Snider bat is being returned to MEARS this week. MEARS will begin helping the owner and proper authorities in trying to identify the source of this bat. Based on the quality of the work, I don’t suspect this was not the first time the person who faked this Snider gamer has applied his craft. I have included both before and after pictures as you may want to examine similar looking bats in the same manner. As a note, there are other technologies and methods that can be used to spot things like this, but we will leave it at that as we need to stay one step ahead of guys like the one who faked this Snider bat.
In the future if you send a bat into MEARS for evaluation and someone calls you talking about alcohol and your submission, please know we have not been drinking. Our efforts in looking at your submissions are not limited to checking it against the players personal order sheet, making some notes about ball marks, pine tar, and calling it a day. If this is all you are looking for, then there are plenty of other folks who will accommodate your request.
As always, collect what you enjoy and enjoy what you collect.
MEARS Auth, LLC
For questions and comments about this article, please feel free to drop me a line at DaveGrob1@aol.com