I always found it interesting that Stan Musial wasn’t signed with Topps or Bowman from 1954 through 1957. James N. Giglio wrote that Musial refused to sign due to “insufficient compensation.” I later learned that Musial had some other business partnerships (for example, with Rawlings) and was showcasing a bit of business acumen, but I didn’t research this any further. So when I stumbled upon a Kit Young catalog featuring an advertisement for the Stan-The-Man Official Rack-Um-Up Bat Rack, I couldn’t resist learning more about Musial’s company and the product.
The first ad I came across was from Kit Young’s 1997 Early Spring Catalog, featuring an autographed Stan The Man Official Rack-Um-Up Bat Rack for $69.95 plus $5.95 p/h. It included a signed letter of authenticity.
The ad referenced that they offered the display piece in an earlier catalog and had immediately sold out. I tracked that one down from their 1996 holiday sale, and they offered that rack for $39.95 plus $5.95 p/h.
As a collector, I was intrigued by both options and wondered about the history of the bat rack.
My research led me to discover that the Stan-The-Man Rack-Um-Up Bat Rack was official merchandise sold by Stan Musial’s company, Stan the Man Inc. The company sold a variety of Musial memorabilia, including “Stan the Man Inc.” branded baseball bats, gloves, and signed Musial memorabilia. The company was operated by Dick Zitzmann, vice president of Stan the Man Inc. The company closed its doors in 2015. Here’s a couple of photos of an entire case of Rack-Um-Up Bat Racks.
The Rack-Um-Up Bat Rack was a wooden rack-equipment holder designed to hold up to six baseball bats. It was released around 1964 and is approximately 4″ x 6″ x 19″.
I found this description from KeyMan Collectibles: “As Advertised; Stan Musial’s Rack-Um-Up is the big league way to keep your bats, balls, and glove ready for play. Rack-Um-Up holds three bats, two balls, and has pegs for your cap and favorite glove, and the back panel features Stan’s picture and autograph….plus a list of his outstanding baseball records. The instructions and hardware for assembly are included and visible in a small plastic bag inside the larger bag on back of rack.”
As I delved deeper into the history of the Stan-The-Man Rack-Um-Up Bat Rack, I came across photographs of the bat rack, some of which Musial signed and looked like they may have come from Kit Young’s advertisement.
I also found examples of letters of authenticity that matched the ad too.
With patience, you can pick up a still-sealed rack for around $100.
And I’ve seen signed ones with JSA certs listed for between $150 and $200, like the following example.
In conclusion, stumbling upon the Kit Young catalog advertisement for the Stan-The-Man Official Rack-Um-Up Bat Rack led me to uncover an interesting aspect of Stan Musial’s business ventures. Although his absence from Topps and Bowman cards may have seemed odd at first, it seems to have been the start of a calculated move that showcased Musial’s savvy business acumen. Happy Collecting, and don’t forget to subscribe to The Post War Cards Newsletter for more hobby news!