I answer questions all the time and I thought I would share this one and the answer for a couple of reasons. Here is the question:
Hi Dave. Got a tuff one for ya. Picked up a Pete Rose 1977-79 H&B R195 35 inch 34/35 ounce bat from Left Field Collectibes. Comes with a COA from Troy and Bushing (with scd) stating it was game used, etc. When I had Caravello check his ordering records for me he said he had no record of Rose ordering a HICKORY finished bat during that time period. It’s an ASH bat but a hickory finish. He also said he might not have all of Rose’s records. Any ideas? LMK. Thanks, Greg Walker
The first point being that I am not sure everyone was on the same sheet of music to start with. I have not seen the SCDA LOA so I don’t know how the finish was described. I also don’t know if Jim Caravello was provided pictures of the bat. Why does this matter…well its all about color.
Jim was right in that Rose’s personal order sheet does not show orders for Hickory Finished R195s during this period. Rose’s records do show an order of:
5-29-79: For six (6) R195s at 35” 33 ½ oz with an annotation that I feel reads WG (wide grain) Hornsby (Finish) MK WTS (Mark Weights). But what is the finish color of this bat? I have enclosed a great reference that can be found on page 127 of “Crack of the Bat: The Louisville Slugger Story” as a data point for visual reference. I have also provided a side by side comparison of that reference with the bat in question. To me it appears to be more of Hornsby than a Hickory Finish. As such, this would be consistent with what can be found in Rose’s for model R195 during the period of 1977-1979.
We also know that there are examples of bats made in 1976 that do not have the Liberty Bell Logo, thus looking the same as bats manufactured during the period of 1977-1979 with the model number on the barrel and the Hillerich & Bradsby Centerbrand as opposed to the later Louisville Slugger Centerbrand. We also know that not all orders are recorded in a players particular order sheet.
The production information offered by Louisville Slugger is a tremendously valuable reference and research tool. I also feel this information has at times been used as a crutch for not looking at bat related issues in the manner I feel they deserve. I have never offered opinions on bats and my name is certainly not one that can be expected to come to tip of anyone’s tongue when they rattle off the names of bat experts. Over the past couple of years I have taken a different approach and have written a bit that runs contrary to what we have thought and been told over the years. These include:
Cobb Bat Length Article
DiMaggio Article on bats not found in his shipping records
Mantle Index Bat Article
Reach Bats and Center Brands
Multiple Adirondack Articles
Hanna/Zinn Beck Bats
Spalding Bat Article
Kren Bat Research (Phase I week after next)
My point in all of this is that since the bat collecting community is probably the most established in comparison to the other game used collecting segments, it may also be the one that has become the most complacent about either looking for new information or re-looking and questioning what has been provided in the past.
What I am seeing with respect to bats is what I saw with game used uniforms well over a decade ago when I began looking at them in some detail. That being a reliance on “that’s what I’ve always been told.” Please know and understand that my feelings on this have nothing to do with the opinions or information offered on this Pete Rose 1977-1979 Model R195. They really have more to do with the comments I made recently in my articles “Google-Thentication” as it applied the Gabby Hartnet jerseys and to a large degree some of the comments I got back on my “SEY HEY” article with respect to Willie Mays in 1951.
Anyway, just thought I’d share an answer to a question and some helpful information. For those that want to send me a note saying you knew all this already, that’s fine. But as long as people ask me questions, it implies that not everyone may not know what you do. I also work along the lines that if one person is looking for information, then others are very likely to be the same boat. I hope that in 2009 as collectors begin to take advantage of what MEARS has to offer with respect to information for their use at the Research and Convention Center, that they will re-look old issues and share what it is they have learned.
As always, collect what you enjoy and enjoy what you collect.
MEARS Auth, LLC
For questions or comments on this article, please feel free to drop me a line at DaveGrob1@aol.com