The collection began almost twenty-five years ago on the AAA field in Winter Haven, Florida, then the spring training home of the Red Sox. This was before the advent of eBay, MLB authentication, game used direct from teams and the gathering and sale of virtually every item touched by a ball player. Game used bats could be purchased from select dealers and people with "clubhouse sources," the game used hobby had not yet exploded into today's game used business.
A collector could simply stand at the chain link, waist high fence around the field, mere feet from the ball players, and listen to Hall of Famer Jim Rice talk with journeyman Mike Brumley about the principles of hitting. If a player cracked a bat, you could ask for and likely receive the bat, on this occasion with a grumble from Brumley, "they got my name wrong anyway." As was the custom for a player like Brumley, who might only receive a dozen bats made to his specifications, the barrel of the bat was wrapped in tape to prevent chipping or cracking, but also concealing his name on the barrel.
It was not until the Baseball Issue of Sports Illustrated arrived with this cryptic note that the beauty of this bat was truly revealed.
The athletic tape was unwound from the barrel, revealing the error and the uniqueness of game used bat collecting. This was the first game used bat in the collection.
The wonderful thing about a professional baseball bat is that, other than a fielding glove, there is nothing more personal to a player. Every player orders a bat to his specifications and this can vary in a number of ways, including length, weight, barrel width or shape, type of wood, size of knob, it goes on and on. It is a personal endeavor.
If the bat is game used, it may reflect dozens of other characteristics unique to the player, such as tape on the handle, pine tar, handle scoring to improve the grip, and a uniform number on the bat knob. Remnants of the game will be also found on the bat in the form of ball marks, seam impressions where you see the stitches from the baseball, cleat marks from where the player used the bat to loosen dirt from his spikes, rack marks showing the green paint of Fenway Park when the bat was placed in and then removed from the Fenway bat rack, batter's box dirt, blades of grass and, of course, the crack that ended its useful life. Game used bats connect you to the player and the game in a way few other collectibles can.
Early on a goal was set, to collect a game used bat from every non-pitcher who had an at bat for the Red Sox from 1960 to the present. At last count, 522 players fit that definition, and the collection is 1 bat (the elusive Ken Poulsen) from completion. We are not a dealer and this is not a business. This is a private collection built with the primary goals of building a comprehensive collection of Red Sox game used bats from 1960 to the present, preserving baseball and Red Sox history, publicly exhibiting the collection for others to enjoy, and supporting charitable causes. From Abad to Zupcic, the cup of coffee player has equal footing with the Hall of Famer. We are indebted to players and their families, the Red Sox, dealers and fellow collectors who have made this collection possible as well as the nation's online yard sale, eBay.
Closing sports bars and sporting goods stores, as well as basements, barns and storage units have yielded their buried treasure over the years. Pictures of more than 600 different game used bats can be found in the BAT COLLECTION section. Some of the bats are incredibly rare and many are from players virtually forgotten by baseball history. We also have a growing collection of Red Sox game used catchers gear that can be found in the CATCHERS section.
Admittedly, as with any collection, there are a few bats where a better exemplar would be a welcome addition, and the collection continues to grow with team autographed bats, bats from each of the Red Sox World Series years, and specialty bats from Mother's Day, All Star and playoff games. We are always looking to purchase Red Sox game used bats and catchers equipment, please visit the BUYING section.
In the end it is the hope that you will enjoy looking at the vast variety of game used bats. Please use this site as a resource and do not hesitate to reach out with questions.