The 1911 Reach catalog has the following endorsements as they pertain to the company’s baseball bats. “Frank Baker World Champions home run hitter uses a Reach Burley Bat in his sensational hitting” and “Rube Oldring World’s Champion’s outfielder hits them out with a Reach Burley Bat”. Listed as the “Reach Burley” Professional Model Bat, made in 3 styles, no 4-0, no 5-0 and no 6-0 (finish differences) They are hand turned… perfect in every respect. Endorsed by the leading batsmen of the American and National Leagues. There were no player names issued on these bats and they remained the top of the line bat even after the introduction of the player models in 1922 or 1923. We have, to date, never seen a professional game used side written Reach bat made after 1922 nor have we seen any pictures of such. It is safe to say that prior to the player models bats, the Burley was used in the major leagues if one is to believe the contemporary accounts but when the less expensive player models were introduced, we have no documentation of any of them having been used in the major leagues although it is entirely possible and we are constantly seeking photographs that might prove this point. Given this, we have no documented reason to believe, at this point, that any of the listed post 1922 player model bats were used by the player whose name is stamped on the bat yet they offer an interesting and scarce look into another major bat manufacturer. Please, if you have any dated photographs of major league players that clearly show a Reach or one of it’s variataions, please email to us. Following is a break down of player model bats offered by Reach from 1923 thru the last pre war catalog of 1941. We have a few holes to fill that will enable us to compile a complete list of every player offered and with being able to date the label changes as they occurred. If you have copies of any of the Reach catalogs missing from this data base, send a good copy and receive a free game used bat price guide or a 1970 Bobby Orr picture pennant. Here we go;
No player endorsed model bats listed in the 1921 catalog nor any of the earlier catalogs in our database including 1909, 1911, 1912, 1913, and 1919.
This is the earliest catalog we have that features player endorsed bats. There are 12 different player models. Each is hand rubbed, oil tempered, has the yellow finish and priced at $2. The top of the line bat for this season is the Reach Deluxe professional model bat ( The Burley) which is priced at $2.50. Center brands are block lettered and player appears stamped in center as listed below. Player models are as follows; (listed just as in the catalog, ( ) is my fill in of first name not listed in catalog.
Buddy Ryan, Crawford ( Sam) Schulte (Frank), Sissler sp. (George), Huggins (Miller), Johnnie Evers, Kauff (Bennie), Clarke (Fred), Davis (Harry), Frisch (Frankie), Chance (Frank), Robertson.
1924 Wright & Ditson Victor Co.
The same player line up as found in the 1923 Reach catalog but the center brand, which is also block letter with the player in the center, has the Wright & Ditson Victor brand rather than the Reach brand. 12 Player Models ( referred to as the no. 94 major league special model at $2) include;
Kelly (George) instead of Kauff (Bennie), all other players are the same as found in the 1923 Reach list.
Block label center brand, (no oval) block letter player name in center just as in earlier models. New players listed include;
Hale (Sammy), O’Ferrell (Bob), Williams, Kamm (Bill), Bing Miller. Gone from the 1923 list are Robertson, Huggins, Kauff, Clarke, Davis.
This is the first year of circle center brand (similar to the Louisville Slugger brand) with the player name now found on the barrel instead of in the center.
Player models stilled priced at $2.
12 player models listed, new additions include ; Bancroft (Dave), Fournier (Jack), Murphy ( Danny or Eddie).
1925 Wright & Ditson.
Unlike the 1925 Reach catalog, this catalog still shows the center brand with the block letter Wright & Ditson Victor ( Victor not found on catalog cover) center brand with block letter player last name only in the center ( no oval center brand).
Continuing with only 12 models, still priced at $2; players are the same as the 1924 W, D & V catalog with no addition or subtractions.
1926 Wright, Ditson Victor Co.
Wright & Ditson Victor center brand with last name of player still in the center like 1924 and 1925. Still offering only 12 player models; New for 1926 are ; Bancroft (Dave) , McManus (Marty) , Traynor (Harold “Pie”) , Young (RALPH 1913-22 ?) and O’Farrell (Bob)
Still 12 player models; no new players added. Circle center brand still present and all of the players still have the block last name only on barrel.
1929 Reach Wright & Ditson
List now enlarged to 24 player models; Now offered with the round center brand with player name on barrel just like the 1926 Reach bats. Wright & Ditson no longer stamped on center brand even though the name is still listed on the catalog. Some Script and some block letter player names. New players added for 1929 include; Geo Burns, Walter French, Earl Smith, H.E. Manush, Chas. Hollocher, Nick Cullop, Duffy Lewis, R.T. Peckinpaugh, Glenn Wright, George Harper, Fred Leach, Chick Autry, Fred Spurgeon, R. Fothergill, Curtis Walker and C. L. “Gabby” Hartnett (player model bats are now $2.50, up from $2 in 1926. We have no catalogs from 27-28 to derive any information)
1930 Reach Wright & Ditson
Same logo as the 1929 bats and still sans the Wright & Ditson logo (Reach only). New players include Hack Wilson, Chas. Gehringer, Mark Koenig, Ossie Orwoll, and Lefty O”Doul.
1934 Reach Wright & Ditson;
New Model Special Pro Finish bat now offered for $2.50; Listed as a brown stain finish offered for players who do not like the new shiny appearance of a natural finish white ash bat. Players for this new model include both new players as well as some previously offerd players, they include Walter Berger, Wesley Schulmerich, Frank Frisch, Bing Miller, Smead Jolley and Frank Crosetti. The center brand is the new Reach round logo with the key stones located on both sides and the player name on barrel. Reach player model bats also feature this same center logo and price. New Players include John Stone, Bruce Campbell, Jerry Walker, and Earl Averill. Still in line up are Frisch and Hack Wilson. (Only 6 player models in each category, Frisch is the only player available in both models. Only 11 different player endorsements offered this year).
1935 Reach Wright & Ditson.
Still has the Reach keystone center brand now offered as a decal instead of stamped and featuring the new “Resilte” treatment similar to the “Powerized” treatment found on H&B bats from 1931 onward. In addition , the endorsees names now appear both first and list and in script much like the signature model H&B bats as well. Prior to 1935, players names with usually block letter last name only or a stylized script last name only but not an autograph mode. Player model bats now come in three different models including 1. the black pro finish resilite model, 2. the special pro finish resilite model, and 3. the old hickory player model ( hickory instead of ash), all of which come with player endorsements and decal appliqués. New Players for 1935 include; Ray Pepper, Sam Leslie, John Frederick, Robert Rolfe, and Lonnie Frey.
1937 Reach Wright & Ditson;
Top of the line bat still priced at $2.50, identical center brand, but now introducing the new Safety Grip Dots ( 1st year) ; These dots show the hitting area and are touted as a way to “Boost your average with “Safety Grip” Dots. New players for 1937 include Dolph Camilli, Philip Cavaretta, Bud Hassett, Lewis Fonseca, Erwin Pete Fox, and C. Puccinella.
Last pre war catalog; In addition to the Resilite treatment bat, they now offer the model A21 Collegiate autograph series with the same players as the other models. New players introduced for the last pre war season include Ted Williams, Murray Arnovich, Frank McCormick, Bill Dickey, Flash Gordon (Joe) and Johnny Mize.
What we can deduce from this survey is that the earliest year that Reach ( in all combinations) may have offered player models is 1922. Once this catalog surfaces, we will be able to pinpoint the year as either 1922 or 1923 ( the first year catalog we have with player names stamped on them). We can also compile a list of all of the players offered as well as determine the different stages of center brands and player name styles. This includes changes in both Reach as well as the other variations. 1925 was the first year that Reach offered the H&B style center brand and 1935 saw the introduction of the decal labels, the autograph models as well as the Resilite finish. Any Reach bat with the Safety Grip Dots cannot have been made any earlier than 1937. When we get the missing catalogs, we will be able to completely chart every player model Reach bat ever offered for the first time in the hobby. Following is a list of missing catalogs and a complete list as currently compiled of every known Reach player model.
1922- ALL VARIATIONS
1923 –W,D & V
ARNOVICH, MURRAY (MORRIE)
GORDON, JOE (FLASH)
MURPHY, DANNY OR EDDIE
O’DOUL, FRANK (LEFTY)
ROBERTSON, DAVE (1912-22)
SCHULTE, FRANK “WILDFIRE”
WILLIAMS, (CY ?)
YOUNG, RALPH? (1913-22)