Simply Baseball Notebook: Collector's Corner

The Boston Bat Party


The Boston Bat Party


Jeff Boujoukos has gone "batty" for the Boston Red Sox.

The lifelong Bosox fan is the proud owner of what is likely the world's most extensive collection of game-used Red Sox bats.

"I collected up to about 100 bats haphazardly," he says. "Then I thought, 'Why don't I set a goal?' I decided to look for a bat from every non-pitcher that has played for the team from 1960 to the present."

After hours of reviewing media guides and the Baseball Encyclopedia, the devoted hobbyist has established that he needs 350 bats (the list grows with every non-pitcher Boston adds). In the more than 15 years since he began his quest, the Philadelphia resident has obtained 313 bats.

"The first time I really started collecting was when I was at Spring Training in Winterhaven in 1986 or 1987 and I watched the morning warm-ups. I picked up a couple of bats there," he explains.

From that day forward, he has diligently searched for bats by placing ads in Sports Collectors Digest, attending team events, and perusing eBay.

"eBay has been amazing. In the last two or three years, I've added 10 to 15 bats from the '60s that I never thought I would get," he says. "If eBay wasn't there, a lot of these items would sit in people's attics and then get thrown away."

The devoted Beantown fan's collection boasts a bat from every non-pitcher on the 1967, 1975, and 1986 World Series teams; however, one of his favorite bats was given to him by utility player Mike Brumley.

"Mike Brumley was taking batting practice at a Triple-A field in Winterhaven and gave me his bat," he recalls. "Then I read something in Sports Illustrated around that time that said things are so bad for the Red Sox that Mike Brumley's bats came back inscribed 'Mike Bumley'...After I heard this I went home and unwrapped the tape off my bat and sure enough it said, 'Mike Bumley.'"


This is just one of many great stories Boujoukos has in amassing his collection. Some of his best memories are of having his bats signed at memorabilia shows.

"There was a reunion show of the 1967 team that I went to with a duffel bag full of bats," he says. "Some of the players were standing up and taking practice swings with the bats."

The Red Sox enthusiast had a particularly memorable experience with former American League MVP Fred Lynn.

"I brought one of Fred Lynn's rookie bats for him to sign at a show. And when he was signing it, he said, 'I always wondered what happened to these.' And my wife, who was there with me at the time, said to him 'They're in our basement.'"

Boujoukos maintains an inventory of his collection in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet and displays his bats in a customized rack in his basement; he has left room for the 37 bats that have eluded him.

"Just to torture myself, one rainy day, I pulled out an old auction catalogue from Centerfield Collectibles and sure enough, there were six or seven bats that I needed in that catalogue," he says. "But that means that someone out there has those bats."

Some of the players' bats that he's still searching for are Bobby Heise, Luis Alvarado, Ray Boone, Mike Derrick, Bob Didier, Jim Gosger, Carmen Fanzone, Lee Thomas, Eddie Kasko, Marty Keough, Felix Mantilla, Roman Mejias, Syd O'Brien, Gene Oliver, Rip Repulski, Pete Runnels, Dick Williams, George Smith, Willie Tasby, and Gene Stephens. If you have a lead on any of these bats, you can contact Boujoukos at soxbats@aol.com.

Despite past attempts, the determined collector has not been able to establish a contact with the Red Sox to purchase bats directly from the team, but he hasn't given up on this yet.

"One of my dreams is to have a connection that allows me to buy bats out of the Red Sox clubhouse for charity," he says.

Ultimately, when Boujoukos has completed his collection, he would like to showcase it for other Bosox fans.

"I would love to lend my collection to the Red Sox," he says. "I don't know if I could ever sell what I have...It's so much more than the time in getting the bats. This collection defines a part of me."

-Kevin Glew


Kevin Glew is a freelance writer based in London, Ontario - he can be reached @  kevin.glew@sympatico.ca