View Full Version : Madlock's 546 " K55 L/S"

06-10-2006, 06:36 PM
What is probably his favorite bat,the Louisville Slugger K55,Bill Madlock ordered 546 of them over a nine year span. This averages out to about 60 a year(Figure the many other models he ordered)and you have a question.
Why so many? I don't rememmber him being prone to crack bats at an alarming rate?

06-10-2006, 06:58 PM
Correction:" K48" not K55

06-11-2006, 08:15 AM
Hi Swoboda4 - what a great question. I went back and looked at Madlock's shipping records and starting in 1979 when he first ordered K48 model bats, he actually ordered 729 bats ( K48 & other models ) during the 9 year stretch you are referring to which ended with his retirement in 1987. That's an average of about 81 bats per year.

I did not include any baseball promotional or miscellaneous orders, which begin to show in the Louisville Slugger records around 1981 - but that's another topic for another day, as there are still authenticators that will authenticate those models that were ordered by Baseball Promotions or Baseball Miscellaneous during the 80's & 90's. A great example is Don Mattingly 1986 - 1989 M110 model bats. There have been numerous examples that have sold in auction for over $1,700 in the past few years that were authenticated when in fact, the Yankees and Mattingly never ordered that model during that time period. I personally have never seen a 1986 - 1989 Mattingly M110 that I thought was legitimate. As mentioned, this is a topic for another day......

Back to your great question. The number of bats that Madlock ordered during this time period is not out of the ordinary for players in the 70's and 80's. You have to keep in mind the amount of batting practice the players take and the fact that some of the bats may have been used by other players on the team or through the organization. Madlock was also a batting champion and a very good player - I am sure some of the bats were never used, but were given away as gifts or used for promotional purposes because of his popularity. He was an every day player, so he was going through them probably pretty rapidly. I once saw an article where Tino Martinez said he would go through about 60 - 70 bats per year, so the amount ordered by Madlock is not out of the norm so to speak.

You should review Roberto Clemente's shipping records. During the 9 year period from 1963 - 1971, Clemente ordered 1,366 bats, or almost 152 bats per year! Mike Specht once told me that Clemente ordered so many bats as he sent a lot of them back to his homeland for use in youth leagues, etc. There is no way Clemente used that many bats per year. You can also see directly in Clemente's shipping records where he requested that certain shipments be sent to San Juan........

Today - because of the growth of the game used hobby, some of today's players order in excess of 200 bats per year! They use the bat for a few days - and then it is sold to a marketing company that has a contract with the player and it ends up on ebay or in a major auction. This is becoming more and more prevalent.

My senior year in high school ( 1980 ) I went through 5 bats in a 20 game schedule. I know, because I still have those bats. I was the last guy to use wood in my District. That would equate to 40 bats if I played a 160 game schedule, but I didn't take nearly the amount of batting practice that the pros take - and nobody touched my wood, as everyone was using aluminum back then. Those bats were used until they were cracked or splintered - so they had heavy use. I am sure Madlock had his favorites, but some were discarded probably after a few games. I also didn't give any bats away back then! If I would have used 40 in a 160 game shcedule without taking much BP, or giving bats away, etc., it is not unreasonable for a major leaguer to go through twice that amount in a full season.

I hope this answers your question. Let me know how else I can help......

Jim - jcaravello@nc.rr.com

06-11-2006, 08:51 AM
One other thing......don't forget the 10 to 20 bats they will rumble through spring training with.......Jim - jcaravello@nc.rr.com

06-11-2006, 11:51 AM
Thank you Jim-Robert(I emailed a follow-up question)thanks again.

06-11-2006, 12:20 PM
Excellent point about Spring Training, Jim.

Using a few random years of Madlock's career, here are some examples;

In 1975 Mad Dog ordered 36 bats between Feb 6 and March 21. He ordered only 42 more the remainder of the year.

In 1976 he ordered 48 bats between Feb 14 and March 23. Only 36 more were ordered around mid-season.

In 1978, 60 of his bats were ordered before the season began, with 48 more ordered during the season.

These patterns are fairly typical (in percentages, at least, if not specific numbers) for the majority of Major League players. It is also more likely to find players place orders that are atypical of normal ordering patterns -- in model, length, and weight -- during Spring Training or very early in the season. . In Madlock's case, his "rare" models would be Model M246 designed and ordered in March, 1976 (15 bats) and only ordered once again in Feb, 1983 (10), Model H174 in April, 1974, and Model S222 in March, 1978 (24).

Of course, this begs the question of whether a bat used in Spring Training only is, in fact, to be considered a game-used bat? Game used can be a confusing and misused term, most often abused when a bat is for sale or at auction. Often, however, the abuse occurs because of different interpretations and expectations of collectors, rather than fraudulent behavior.

The purest definition of the term game used, as it pertains to professional player baseball bats is : A bat used by a roster player, during his Major League career, in a recorded plate appearance during a regular season game. All Star Games, league championship series, and World series game used bats are in a specific collecting category and are usually clearly identified.

Good Luck in future collecting.

Mike Jackitout7@aol.com

06-16-2006, 10:53 PM
Saw this thread and had to toss up some pics of one of my favorite pieces. 77-79 LS Madlock bat.



Last year I contacted someone at LS and they said that although Madlock never ordered a C253, he did order a C235 (or something like that) and the accidental transposing of numbers during branding was not unusual. In 99, Madlock was a hitting coach for Toledo and when they visited the Richmond Braves, he signed it for me. It has some nice ball/bat rack marks.

The Lumber Company
06-17-2006, 06:03 AM
Good morning. I thought that I would add a little flavor to the Madlock topic. As you know I collect Pirates bats. I currently have (5) Maddog bats in stock. Here is the sampling of what I have. Interestingly enough all bats are 35".

(1) C263 1977-79
(2) S2's 1977-79 & 80's
(1) Adirondack 1980's
(1) K48 80's