This article is about a couple of things, part instructional and part editorial. The editorial comment I have deals with what I feel is an ever growing problem in the hobby and how people do research and imagery analysis. More often than I not, I hear and read from collectors about spending hours going through Getty and Corbis and not finding something. While these are wonderful resources, they are not “the- be- all” or “end- all” or some magical panacea for research. I have been and will remain a fan of print images found in either books or any number of related publications.
The problem, if you consider it one, is that you can’t “Google” a book, magazine or trade publication. You have to find them, often buy them, and then go through them…making note of what you see and where you found it. This takes time and money, something I’m always surprised to find collectors unwilling to invest in. O.K….enough of the editorial comments.
The instructional nature of this piece deals with Stan Musial and his use of Adirondack bats. In my effort to study Adirondack bats, I have broken my research down into a number of segments of or chapters if you will. Three of them include:
A Survey McLaughlin-Millard Adirondack Product Literature
A Survey of Player Model Bats Found in the Hobby
A Survey of Period Images
A Survey McLaughlin- Millard Adirondack Product Literature:
This survey includes looking at Adirondack product catalogs and various advertising bulletins or product endorsement advertisements. With respect to Stan Musial, Musial bats can be found in the 1951 Adirondack retail catalog as follows:
1951 Adirondack Bat Product Catalog:
Shows generic company logo in the form of a pennant and the year 1951. Bats are broken down into two groups, the Signature Group and the Standard Types.
Del Ennis, Vic Wertz, Bob Thomson, Hank Bauer, Gil Hodges, Larry Doby, Gran Hamner, Joe Garagiola, Al Dark, Bob Elliot, Del Crandel, Ray “Ike” Boone, Johnny Lipon, Pundinhead Jones.
Ruth, Williams, DiMaggio, Kell, Stephens, Kiner, Musial.
A Survey of Player Model Bats Found in the Hobby:
For Stan Musial, this survey includes but is not limited to:
Musial, Stan. Era 1951-1957, model 15V, length 34 ½”, weight 33.1oz. Block name MUSIAL TYPE, PERSONAL MODEL above name LIGNINIZED below, two-toned bat. Private collection.
Musial, Stan. Era 1951-1957, model 15B, length 34 ½”, weight 32 ½”. Block name MUSIAL TYPE, PERSONAL MODEL above name LIGNINIZED below, Grey Flannel May 2004.
Musial, Stan. Era 1951-1957, model 15B, length 34 ½”, weight 32oz. Block name MUSIAL TYPE, PERSONAL above name MODEL below. MASTROs December 2004.
Musial, Stan. Era 1951-1957, model 57B, length 34”, weight 31oz. Block name MUSIAL, ADIRONDACK above name PERSONAL MODEL below. REA July 2000.
Musial, Stan. Era 1951-1957, model 15B, length 34 ½”, weight 32 oz. Block name STAN MUSIAL, PERSONAL above name MODEL below, MASTROs April 2004.
Musial, Stan. Era 1958-1960, model 57B, length 34 ½”. Block name STAN MUSIAL, ADIRONDACK above name PERSONAL MODEL below, Leland’s June 1998.
Musial, Stan. Era 1958-1960, model 57B, length 34 ½”, weight 31oz. Block name STAN MUSIAL, ADIRONDACK above name PERSONAL MODEL below, MASTROs April 2003.
Musial, Stan. Era 1960, Length 34 ½”.
Block name MUSIAL, 1960 All Star markings, ADIRONDACK above name PERSONAL MODEL below. Leland’s November 1993.
Previous recorded Musial Model bats in:
Bats by Malta, Foxx, Ridell, and Specht: 57 B
MastroNet Guide by Bushing and Knoll: 57B,73 B
New Models Identified Above: 15 B, 15V
Revised Listing of Musial Models: 15B, 15V, 57B, 73B
A Survey of Period Images
This survey includes but is not limited to page 57 of “The Sluggers: Those Fabulous Long Ball Hitters” (Part of the Redefinition Book Series). Some of things seen in this image is that the photo is an “In Action” shot of Musial. The image can be dated to the period of 1949-1950 by the “Big Bird” style logo on the jersey Musial is wearing. You will also notice that the center brand of the bat that Musial is using is not a Hillerich and Bradsby product because of both the A: Sharp angle of the lettering and apparent absence of the oval branding, and B: The presence of two lines of text above the center brand (along the vertical axis of the bat). Often times the role of the imagery analyst involves deciphering what something is by excluding what it is not. While the Stan the Man product line of bats also features a similar sharp angular branding, it also features a distinctive player logo and the absence of writing or stamping above the center brand (along the vertical axis of the bat). In addition, the images I have found with Musial and Stan the Man products also feature Stan wearing a uniform that has a number on the front of the jersey, something the Cardinals did not do until sometime around 1962.
Another thing I found interesting in this look at player, time, and manufacturer, is the early 1950s is also the point in time when we begin to see the transition of Musial Hillerich and Bradsby Products from signature models to “MUSIAL MODELS.”
What then are the take-aways from this piece? Hopefully they are:
1. On line research is great, but not everything can be “Googled” or found in Getty or Corbis.
2. Get the most out of the images you find and consider doing “exclusionary” analysis… By that I mean “It may likely be this because I know it isn’t this or that.”
3. When doing research, break your project down into manageable and complimentary segments that support cross referencing and trend analysis.
As always, collect what you enjoy and enjoy what you collect.
MEARS Auth, LLC
POST SCRIPT: I have similar information as detailed for Musial on almost 100 other players and Adirondack bats from the 1950s-1960s that are not found in either the Malta or Bushing efforts.