Trade Index and LOO’s (Letters of Opinion)
As of Thursday, August 20th, 2007, MEARS completed the update of our most recent jersey & trade index census report. Commonly referred within the industry as the “pop report” this index is a compilation of all jerseys and bats evaluated by MEARS. In addition, we have just added a new feature, which provides a link to the actual LOO (Letter of Opinion), from the trade index to the actual letter produced. This will allow MEARS members the opportunity to efficiently cross over from the index to see the actual letter of evaluation of the item. The total items in our report are:

2,676 Bats
3,737 Jerseys

The trade index serves as the compilation of all information, which was gathered from the worksheets, which created the Letter of Opinion. After the letter was created, the information was sent to the trade index where the items are separated into the proper categories. By using the link feature and crossing over to the finished LOO, members can view the 50 data points gathered from each bat and jersey worksheet that compiles the final LOO. We currently have 133,800 datapoints for bats, and 186,850 datapoints for jerseys. The bat datapoints contain the measurements of the lengths and weights, identification of the centerbrand era, physical characteristics of the bats and then all use characteristics are noted. Jersey LOO’s contain all important measurements and comparisons to other samples along with evaluation of wear. What makes this information unique is that the this data is gathered specifically from the items we evaluated as opposed to compared data found in books, photos, online sources, etc. The datapoints taken from actual evaluations were compared to the information contained in the additional MEARS databases and libraries. For interested jersey collectors, the study of this data allows for comparison of jersey tagging, tracking player uniform sizes, checking chest and torso measurements, comparing lettering and numbering, and many other additional points for comparison.

Bats are separated into categories of Pre War, Post War and Modern Era. Player’s first name, era of bat, manufactures, grade, comments, and finally the link to the LOO alphabetically list each bat in the trade index.

This is the first time in the history of our hobby that game worn items were tracked to such an extent and the information organized and made available. As a collector, dealer, or auction house, the information is vital when making purchase decisions. For example, I examined 8 random players’ bats from the pre war hall of famers from the bat index. A general review of the data found:

Babe Ruth: 90 bats have been evaluated by MEARS. 2 of those were deemed as unable to authenticate. The reason was given in the LOO link. Grades ranged from A2 to A10*. Detailed examination of the data will allow members to ascertain:

1. Who was the manufacturer of professional model bats?

2. What years per the label era were the bats made available?

3. What grades have been assigned?

4. How many total bats are in the population?

The bat index also showed that players like Jimmy Foxx and Ty Cobb had populations of 12 or more. Others players examined showed totals of:

Dave Bancroft (2)
Earle Combs (1) side written
Ernie Lombardi (3)
Arky Vaugn (2)
Harry Hooper (1)
Max Carey (1)
Paul Waner (8)

This information can be interpreted a couple of ways. In the case of Foxx, Cobb, and Ruth, it could mean that 1. Proportionately, more bats were made for these players. 2. More bats were submitted because of the value and they all fit the popular collecting themes.

Another trend I noticed was that a high percentage of the bats with low pop numbers were either side written or vault marked. This means that the only surviving examples originated from the Louisville slugger find and additional examples have yet to enter the market.

Additional availability trends can be tracked when examining the jersey trade index. Currently the information is divided by sports then separated into five categories: year, players, manufacturer, grade, and the link to LOO.

When examining the baseball section, some definite trends emerge with respect to rarity of items evaluated by MEARS. It is illustrated that game worn baseball jerseys have progressively more difficult with each previous decade. For example,

1960’s: 190 jerseys
1950’s: 132 jerseys
1940’s 68 jerseys
1930’s 28 jerseys
1920’s 17 jerseys
1910’s 7 jerseys

total= 442 jerseys (1910 to 1969)

MEARS has never examined a pre 1910 uniform. That means that of the 3, 737 total jerseys in our jersey trade index, the additional 3,295 jerseys were during 1970 or later. The equates to roughly 15% of all jerseys examined by MEARS dated to pre 1970. When studying the basketball and football indexes similar trends can be found.

In closing, I would strongly suggest collectors start referencing the bat and jersey trade index. How many 1960’s Lakers jerseys have been examined by MEARS? Are 1970’s ABA jerseys of the common players rare? How about 1974 Houston Oilers jerseys, how many have MEARS evaluated? Dave and I have been using this data over the course of the past 12 months. We have used it to determine trends, which allowed us to evaluate styles, teams, and sports as hobby rarities. We have used these resources to add rare items to our For Sale Inventory. The same evaluation of the data can you allow you the collector to add rare items to your collection.


Troy R. Kinunen