Charlie Gehringer, a man who was an outstanding hitter for the Detroit Tigers, has one key characteristic to look for on some of his well-used professional model bats. Gehringer would occasionally apply a unique taping pattern along the handle of his bats. There are two styles that collectors may encounter: one has a crisscross pattern and the other style, one that is clearly more prevalent in vintage images, is spiral in nature with slight gaps left along the continuous stretch of tape.
It is somewhat similar to the taping method seen on Carl Yastrzemksi bats decades later, only the gaps are even tighter on Gehringer's bats. The separation between each wrap is extremely thin - not even wide enough for a hitter to place a finger on the wood beneath it. It is important to note that Gehringer did not always prepare his bats with either of these taping methods, but evidence of the pattern does help place the bat directly into his hands.
Gehringer signed an endorsement contract with H&B during the middle of his first full season in 1926, but he did play several games in 1924 and 1925. While the overwhelming majority of Gehringer’s gamers were manufactured with his facsimile signature, it is possible to find some containing his name in block letters made prior to the summer of 1926. Finally, Gehringer experimented with hickory bats early on, but he stayed loyal to ash bats from the spring of 1932 until the end of his career.
Charles Leonard Gehringer (May 11, 1903 - January 21, 1993) played 19 seasons with the Detroit Tigers (1924-1942) and is considered one of the greatest second baseman in history. His consistency at the plate and at second earned him the nickname Mechanical Man as Gehringer would bat over .300 in 13 seasons and had over 200 hits in seven campaigns. A quiet man by nature, Gehringer made his noise between the lines batting .320 for his career with 2,839 hits, 1,774 runs, 1,427 RBI and a fielding percentage of .376. Charlie had a career year in 1937 when he led the AL in games, plate appearances, runs, hits, doubles, triples and stolen bases and captured the American League’s Most Valuable Player award. Gehringer appeared in every inning of the first six All-Star games (his only six appearances), won three American League pennants and was a member of the 1935 World Series champions. Charles Leonard Gehringer was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1949.