A while back, I wrote an article about my collecting focus centered on the 1959 T.V Series Home Run Derby. As part of this effort, I managed to pick up what has become one of my favorite bats…a 1961-1964 Harmon Killibrew H&B model S207. When first shown images of the bat, I knew it was one I really wanted. Very nice use, par tar pattern, and the combination of labeling period/model made it one of the early bats ordered that became the principle choice for Killibrew throughout his career.
As often happens, I find one project of mine spilling over into another. My long term research effort for now is a detailed look at McLaughlin-Millard, INC Adirondack bats from the 1950s and 1960s. Part of the research I am doing involves a comparative look at H&B and Adirondack products. This led me to begin to look through various H&B player order sheets to see if could locate H&B model bats made from Adirondack offerings. I knew this was in fact something I would find based on some previous work done looking specifically at the Cincinnati Reds from 1970-1979.
I began to focus my search based on images I have found of H&B endorsers with Adirondack bats. One such player I came across was Roy Sievers. Although I have not come across Adirondack bats of Sievers of yet, he can be found holding one bearing a block name ROY SIEVERS on page 141 of “Nationals on Parade: 70 Years of Washington Nationals Photos” by Mark Stang and Phil Wood. Photos like this of non-Adirondack endorsers are valuable in expanding the list of known users. This image prompted me to do an on line search in Corbis images for Roy Sievers. Image #U1321824| RM| © Bettmann/CORBIS shows him holding a group of bats including an Adirondack model for teammate Don Demeter in spring training 1962.
By now I know you’re getting a bit anxious and want to know what any of this has to do with my claim about Killibrew hitting a large portion of his home runs with an Adirondack bat. It was the above image search that led me to Roy Sievers and then to look at his player bat records. I found:
3-25-57: “S202-Same Adirondack Model”
2-12-58: “Adirondack bat sent in- S207.” This became the H&B Model S207.
Sievers and Killibrew were team mates in Washington from 1954 through 1959 until Sievers was traded to the White Sox on April 4th 1960 for Earl Battey and Don Mincher.
Killibrew’s first order of the S207 was on 8-19-1963. I found it interesting to also note that team mate Vic Wertz placed his first order of S207’s on 7-16-1963. The reason I looked for players like Wertz ( a one time Adirondack endorser) was to see if I could find someone who had ordered these bats before Killibrew did. I am not suggesting that Killibrew made a decision to switch away from his from almost monogamous relationship with the H&B D2 after swinging a Wertz bat, but he had to have seen something he liked in this model because his records show him ordering almost nothing else but these for the rest of the decade (one order of K55s; 4-30-68).
During this six year stretch from 1964-1969, Killibrew hit 223 home runs or roughly 39% of his total of 573 with what may in all likelihood have been a bat that began as an Adirondack model back in 1958. I wonder if he ever knew.
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