Game-Used Bat from Fort Wayne

As you may have read about here, I had an amazing time when I visited Parkview Field to watch the Fort Wayne TinCaps back on May 27. If you haven’t read that blog entry, take a look; I got an all-access, behind-the-scenes tour from the team’s GM. It was incredible.

Anyway, Fort Wayne has been one of my favorite destinations so far, and one of those reasons is the extensive, well-priced team store at Parkview Field.

I was especially excited that the team sells broken, game-used bats from TinCaps players. (Some are even autographed.)

As I’m a sucker for game-used memorabilia, even at the Minor League level, I couldn’t resist picking up a bat. And I think you’ll agree it’s a beauty:

It’s one of Ryan Skube’s bats. Skube was a 44th-round draft pick of the San Diego Padres in the 2009 amateur draft, and according to Baseball-Reference.com, never actually suited up for the TinCaps. Here’s a close-up of Skube’s engraved name on the barrel:

After being drafted out of high school, Skube spent 2009 with the Arizona League Padres, then split time in 2010 between the AZL Padres and the Single-A California League’s Lake Elsinore Storm. I suppose he used this bat at some point in 2010:

As you can see, the bat is made by Old Hickory:

It’s got tape around the handle, which shows lots of wear …

… and some wear on the barrel itself, too:

You can’t see it in any of the images above, but the knob of the bat says “RS 4” in pencil — his initials and number.

That brings me back to Skube. I can’t find a record of him playing anywhere in 2011, which leads me to wonder if he’s out of baseball. That seems odd, as he was only 19 when he finished the 2010 season in Lake Elsinore, and hit .412 in four games. With the AZL Padres, he batted .242 in 27 games. Thus, he played just 31 games in 2010. Did he get injured and is still hurt? I don’t know.

I saw that Skube has a Facebook account, so I’m going to try to track him down there and find out what he’s doing. Hopefully, he’ll be back in the game before long!

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