While continuing to add to the Bushing & Kinunen MEARS For Sale inventory, our own Dave Bushing uncovered yet another photograph of a non-traditional bat manufacture. In what is one of our clearest images to date, this wire photo clearly and with great detail depicts a young Joe DiMaggio and Lefty Grove standing by the infield wall at Yankee Stadium. Nestled inline with three other game bats is a Hanna Batrite model with “LAZZERI” block letter last name only on barrel. The centerbrand design of the Hanna Batrite in the photograph is referred to as Logo #2. This is the second version of the Batrite centerbrand, which changed from the previously used “Bat Logo” marking. The latest documented example of the Bat Logo being used per the MEARS database is 1932. The second version is simply the word “BATRITE” spelled out in straight block lettering. Examples of this centerbrand begin entering the hobby during 1930. The identification of this second version centerbrand along with specific design of the barrel name aids MEARS in the dating of this bat.
As recorded in a previous MEARS article, in November of 1935, the Supreme Court ruled that bat manufactures could use the names of players not under contract, provided the bats were identified as “Types” or “Styles” used by a player. This was to protect the patent of Hillerich & Bradsby who had exclusive rights to brand a player’s full name onto the barrel for marketing prposes. The fact that “LAZZERI” appears alone on the barrel allows us to date the production of this bat to some time in late 1935 or 1936. It was not uncommon for players to carry bats from a previous seasons(s) to the next. This newly discovered image supports the practice.
Although the dating of the bat’s centerbrand was determined to predate November 1935, the players in the photo played together no earlier than 1936. Lazzeri’s final year with the Yankees was (1937), and the present of both Joe DiMaggio (debut 1936) and Lefty Gomez (teammate 1936 & 1937) allowed for the dating. All three players were with the team during 1936-37.
This photo supports 8 previously examined Hanna Batrite players last name model bats found in the MEARS database:
MEARS #301351 1925-35 (LAZZERI) Bat Logo (block letter last name only)
MEARS #302463 1925-35 (COCHRANE) Logo #2 (block letter last name only)
MEARS #300566 1925-34 (RICE) Bat Logo (block letter last name only)
MEARS #302984 1932 (WANER) Bat Logo (block letter last name only) *sw
MEARS #251860 1928 circa (SPEAKER) Bat Logo (block letter last name only) *sw
MEARS #306867 1925-31 (HARRIS) Bat Logo (block letter last name only)
MEARS #304169 1925-35 (SIMMONS) Logo #2 (block letter last name only)
MEARS #30462 1925-35 (WANER) Bat Logo (block letter last name only)
sw is for side written.
It should also be noted that MEARS has examined two additional Batrite bats of interest.
MEARS #302499 1934-35 (GEORGE SELKIRK) Logo #2 (block letter first & last name)
MEARS #302878 1936-39 (LAZZERI TYPE) Logo #2 (block letter last name & type).
The George Selkirk is the only Batrite bat we have examined having both first and last name in block letters. The LAZZERI TYPE barrel stamping supports our previously provided post 1935 lawsuit information. The examination of the LAZZERI TYPE bat illustrates the desire of the 1930’s bat manufactures to adhere to the court ruling and at the same time promote both product and player use. This article also highlights MEARS desire to focus our time, efforts, and money on the “R” in MEARS…Research.
Troy R. Kinunen