Q. I tried to do some research on a baseball bat that my brother-in-law recently purchased at an estate sale by using the H&B web-site and it so happens that the website referred me to you. Hopefully you can shed some light on this item. I have enclosed a few pictures so that maybe it will help you give me some history / background. In addition to the H&B logo, the bat has the following markings: Donated by New York Yankees – Special – Soft Hit- Mickey Mantle and it measures 32 inches in length. Thanks for your help and please let me know what your thoughts are.

A. You have a retail or store model “Safe Hit” model from the late 50-early 60’s. As it is marked “donated by the Yankees”, they would have purchased the bats from Louisville Slugger, and then given them away. The use of the word “donated” does not denote a bat day give away but would have be more in line with a give away to a local school or fund raiser. Current value on a gem mint example given the rather scarce stamping would be in the $150 range.

Q. I have 4 bats- Louisville slugger models including Jackie Robinson, Roberto Clemente, Yogi Berra and Henry Aaron. Are they worth anything?

A. This is a question which we are often asked yet cannot be answered accurately due to the lack of details in the question. They are more than likely going to be retail or store model bats and if all were gem mint and pre 1980 (Louisville Slugger introduced the new logo this season), depending on length and how early, they could be worth $50-100 each. Now if they were game used or issued bats from the playing days of those players and matched factory shipping records (possible if they were handed down from an ex player, team manager, etc, etc. ) the Jackie Robinson alone could sell for upwards of $75,000, the Berra at $5-8000, Clemente $7-15,000 and Aaron at $6-10,000. I would need to know the length, weight and model on knob along with any hand written numbers along with all factory stamps to even start to determine what you have, from that point , the use would be the next area for close examination which needs at the very least, a great set of pics.

Q. I have a Louisville slugger m110 34 inches says George Brett and has a number 5 on the knob how can I be sure it belonged to him it looks pretty old.

A. I would assume that be mentioning Louisville Slugger, that you have a center brand that did not begin until 1980 which would eliminate the record of the first bat ever sent to Brett in 1971 which was an order of 6 ash bats at 34.5” and 32 oz. Through out the 1980’s, there were records of model M110’s being shipped but none to Brett, all of which were sent as some sort of baseball promotions. In 1990, there will be nothing printed beneath Brett’s name and from 1991 on, the team name would have been stamped under his name. Given all of this, you more than likely have one of the baseball promotion models from the 1980’s. Value would only be in the $1-150 range as a pro model.

Q. I just won this Chris Chambliss game used Yankee hat last week and I was wondering if you could tell me the year its from if you know. Maybe you know when the yank’s started to wear these hats or something. Thanks

A. New Era began supplying Yankee hats in the mid 1960’s at the earliest with McAuliffe and Spalding supplying them before that. One thing that seems to be constant with Yankee hats is that they were not consistent. If you study pictures of every year Chambliss was with the Yankees, you will find differences in the NY, sometimes quite obvious and often quite subtle but you should be able to narrow it down to a few seasons. Wilson hat have a dating code inside which makes the job of narrowing down a specific year much easier.

Q. I have two Louisville Slugger Wood Baseball Bats that are in need of some cleaning and touch up work. My Great Uncle was the clubhouse manager for the Baltimore Orioles in 1970 and 1971 when they won the World Series. He received a personalized bat with his name on it and the Baltimore Orioles in ’71. In 1970 he received a team world series bat, which I think only a hundred are made. These bats are now mine and I would like to also mount them on the wall but don’t know how. Could you help me answer these two questions?

A. To clean up a natural finish bat, one without varnish, I use Homer Formby’s furniture cleaner (in a can similar to turpentine). It takes off paint and dirt but will also dull the finish on a varnished (dipped) bat. For these, only a good strong soap and water will do if you wish to not harm the finish. The cleaner will also take off any foil printing so make sure the bats have the burned in markings. Then apply a paste min-wax. You can use the dark finish wax on black bats but don’t ever use any cleaner on them. For mounting, best to build a rack and hang them don’t drill holes directly into the bat as this will hurt value.

Q. I found your email address on the Louisville Slugger Museum website. I received a bat from my father back in the late 1960’s. It is a Louisville Slugger, 125, Hillerich & Bradsby Co., Made in U.S.A., Louisville, KY., Reg. U.S. Pat. Off. , Genuine George “Babe” Ruth Louisville Slugger. It is a 34 inch bat. On the end of the bat handle it says R43. The bat was kept in storage and is in very good condition. Can you direct me to a person that can possibly identify the bat’s value?

A. Babe Ruth died in 1948 and the phrase “Reg US Pat. Off” under the center brand is indicative of a bat made after 1949 so he could not have used this bat. In addition, Babe made his last major league appearance as a player in 1935 with the Boston Braves and finally as a coach with the Dodgers in 1938 yet the use of model numbers on the knob (R43) was not introduced into the Louisville Slugger system until 1943-45 (it took several years to catalog every model to that date). What you have is a 1950’s pro stock Ruth bat made well after he died and played and as such, value is relatively low, usually selling in the $300-500 range.

Q. I got your name off the Louisville Slugger museum website. Back in 1968 I pulled an old baseball bat from a pile of wood my grandmother was going to use for her wood burning stove. It was an old Louisville Slugger and the name on the bat didn’t ring any bells with the players I knew of. I used the bat a couple of times and then just put it away. To make along story short I got on the Internet and found out the ball player on the bat was inducted into the hall of fame in 1968. His name was Hazen Shirley Cuyler and played in the 1920’s and 30’s . Based on the seal the bat dates between 1916 to 1929 you can still read all of Cuyler’s name and the bat was bone rubbed. Any idea on what it’s worth?

A.You failed to give me some vital information such as model in the center brand. Is it a 125, 40, 125 HC, 40 HC, or even a junior model. I assume it is a signature model and the fact that it is stamped bone rubbed instead of powerized means it was made before 1931. Cuyler was a great ball player who was on the Pirates in both 1925 and 1927 as well as playing for years with the Chicago Cubs including 1929, 32 and 35. If you have a 125 model with no inch marks i.e. 35” , and it is in nice condition with use but no problems, you probably have a game model bat worth $4-5000. If it is a store model such as a 125 with inch marks on the knob, would sell in the $400 range with other models selling in the $2-300 range if nice.

Q.Dear Dave, I contacted you by email over a year ago about a souvenir bat with the name Jack Tising on it. I sent it to his surviving relative in Missouri and she wrote me to say it is now hanging in a family run museum in High Points. Thank you for your help in this matter.
A. This is a nice story. We have put items back with their original owners several times and I really enjoy such events.

Until next time ,

David Bushing