1934-37 Rogers Hornsby Louisville Slugger Professional Model bat
For the purpose of this evaluation, MEARS #306550, after a physical inspection of the bat, comparison to factory records, use of a magnified light source to search for originality and/or alterations, determining that the knob was regular (flared) vs. his Hornsby (large Ruth) knob, and evaluation of game use, we were able to determine this bat was all-original and factory recorded in the H&B factory records as being requested by Rogers Hornsby for the years of 1934-37. To proceed with our evaluation, we accessed the H&B factory records.
Factory records were accessed to aid in:
1. Dating determination
2. Model/style as determined by knob preference
3. Verification of length & weight specifications as ordered by Hornsby
4. Number and dates of orders per Hornsby
Examination of Rogers Hornsby personal bat records reveal the first possible reference of this bat was found in the 1934 H&B records. Hornsby had been ordering bats since he signed his endorsement contract with Hillerich & Bradsby on 4/13/26. MEARS examined the label period of 1934 to 1937 as Hornsby retired from baseball in 1937. The 1938 records were for coaches’ bats and this bat does not match the length of bats ordered at that later date. This confirms the dating of the bat to Hornsby’s playing career. The actual version of the centerbrand per the manufacturing process dates the label period to a broader range to 1934 to 1944. This means the centerbrand dye used during the manufacturing process was found on bats that date throughout the 1934-44 era. Due to the last playing year of Hornsby, 1937, and the model/length (regular Hornsby knob/35”), this bat was determined to date from the 1934 to 1937 era. Personal records consistent with MEARS #306550 examined included the following orders:
5-25-34 regular Hornsby 35/36 oz.
4-14-34 regular Hornsby 35” 36 oz.
8-8-35 regular Hornsby 35” 36 oz.
4-14-36 regular Hornsby 36/37 oz.
5-12-36 regular Hornsby 36 oz.
2-26-36 regular Hornsby 35” 35/36 oz.
5-28-37 regular Hornsby 35” 32/34 oz.
6-22-37 regular Hornsby 35” 32/34 oz.
6-26-37 regular Hornsby 35” 32/34 oz.
7-8-37 regular Hornsby 35” 32/34 oz.
This bat at its current weight (32.8 ounces) is most consistent with the 1937 shipping records of bats weighing 32 to 34 ounces. But, as illustrated by MEARS, it is proven bats can loose up to 5 ounces, therefore, the 1934-1936 ordered bats (weighing 36 to 37 ounces) must also be considered. H&B factory records confirm this bat as a weight ordered by Rogers Hornsby during the 1934 to 1937 era.
Records indicate that the use of the phrase “regular Hornsby” referred to as his main or index record of a flared knob. The flared knob can be determined by noting its shape as its “flares” at the end, but does not quite form a full knob. Hornsby did indeed use a standard knob at various times during his career. He made specific references to the large size of the knob as H&B categorized them as the “Ruth” knob. Bats having the larger Ruth knob were referenced in the records as “his Hornsby”. H&B factory records confirm this as being a model with the correct regular knob (flared) as being ordered by Rogers Hornsby during the 1934 to 1937 era.
Rogers Hornsby index length is considered to be 35”. The term index length refers to a player’s main choice or preference to length. There are some inconsistencies by H&B in their practice of recording Hornsby bat lengths during this timespan of 1934 to 1937. Sometimes the specific lengths are noted, sometimes just the phrase “regular Hornsby”. In the later instances, it is assumed to default to the index lengths of 35”. H&B factory records confirm this as being a bat ordered and recorded as a length requested by Rogers Hornsby during the 1934 to 1937 era.
Additional orders of bats were found in Rogers Hornsby personal bat records during the timespan of 1934 to 1937. This bat could not have been one of those since those additional orders were listed as having large Ruth knobs or were manufactured from a totally different Chick Haffey model bat. Factory records confirm this as being a bat ordered by Rogers Hornsby during his playing career.
Post career: Rogers Hornsby did continue to order bats through the end of this broad label period dating, 1943. Hornsby remained very active in professional baseball and continued to coach, play exhibition games, and manage. This bat was not found in his personal records during post playing career of 1937 since available H&B records listed those models in longer lengths. Records shows:
1938: (3) Hornsby 36”, 36-ounce bats
(3)Chick Hafey 36”, 36-ounce bats
1942: (3) Hornsby 36”, 36-ounce bats
(9) unlisted model 36”, 34-ounce bats
This bat does not match the lengths of bats from this label period (1938-44) that Hornsby would have used as a coach.
In summary, after a complete examination of the bat and factory records, MEARS determined this bat matches factor records for the period of 1934-37 and exhibits heavy use, which is consistent with major league play. Our total examination with respect to use/manufacturer characteristics allowed us to assign this bat the grade of A7. (5 points base grade for matching factory records, 2 points for use, and notation of professionally restored handle)