If you have ever been a writer with a regular deadline, this may ring all to true with you…what do you do when you run out of ideas? For me, this does happen from time to time. In some cases, stories seem to come to front door…Literally, as was the case with the past two weeks with the Ruth bat and the Clemente jersey. Other times, and this is certainly one of them, I find myself engaged in something at work and the idea for a column comes. One of the things I am working on is the larger training and education of the Intel Workforce. This is a combination of job specific skills and broader concepts for professional development….Don’t worry, I’m getting there.

Another topic I have written about but won’t rehash at this time, is the need for a professional association. The natural outgrowth, at least to me, would be how to address this within the concept of professional development and growth for the hobby/industry. Welcome to Sports Memorabilia University (SMU).

The question is… what would be the course work requirements for someone who wanted to earn a degree or professional certification in the field of Memorabilia Evaluations? I decided it might be worth while to attempt to describe the courses that, as Dean of SMU, I would want to see my students take. Although all of this may sound silly and some may see it as nothing more than me looking for weekly filler for my column, I would ask you to give some serious thoughts to the subjects I propose as well as the value they have with respect to the expectations the hobby/industry has for people working in this field.

CORE Courses:

Computer Applications: Students gain a basic understanding and knowledge of word processing, spreadsheet, database, and graphic applications. Students learn to use the Microsoft Office Suite Software package. Other focus area’s include the use of the internet and search engines.

Research Methods: This course is intended to provide students with the necessary information, skills and practice in research methodology to enable them to undertake a small research project from inception to completion. Focus areas include hypothesis forming and testing and the identification and use of primary and secondary reference material. Students will develop and work from an established set of procedures that is both consistent and comprehensive in practical exercises.

Critical Thinking, and Reasoning: This course will focus on developing critical thinking and reasoning patterns for use by the student to more effectively express his or her viewpoint, to better identify and rebut faulty logic, and to aid in the logical presentation of ideas. Emphasis will be placed on everyday situations encountered in the hobby/industry.

Imagery Analysis: Student will learn the fundamentals of imagery analysis through the study and demonstrated application of all three categories of image utilization.
Category One: Photographic Reference. This involves using the image as a source of information.
Category Two: Photographic Comparison. This involves using the image to compare with either another image or an actual object.
Category Three: Photographic Extrapolation. Focus on mensuration or using an object of known size to ascertain information about other objects in a picture.

1 of the Following History Courses:
History of Baseball
History of Football
History of Basketball
History of Hockey
Student will trace the evolution of the game with a focus changes of the implements of play and their significance to the game and the hobby/industry today.

The History of Sports Equipment Manufacturing and Marketing: Students will study the history of both the major and minor manufacturers of sporting goods with focus on manufacturing techniques, technologies, means of product identification and marketing.

Business and Personal Ethics: A theoretical critique and case-oriented analysis of the moral, ethical, and value issues that challenge hobby/industry related business with a view toward discovering ethical principles and strategies applicable to the process of performing evaluations.

Understanding Use and Wear: Students will study the effects of use and wear relative to various sports and time frames in order to gain an appreciation for making informed and consistent determinations with respect to degree and legitimacy

Building a Research Library: Pre-requisite Research Methods and Computer Applications. Students will learn both the value and use of as well and various techniques for assembling a research library. Course work will involve selecting a topic and using a notional budget of $500.00, assemble a Library. Students will be required to establish a searchable data base for this library and offer a presentation describing both the process used and the particular value these holding have to the assigned topic.

Uniform Tagging: Pre-requisite The History of Sports Equipment Manufacturing and Marketing: Students will study the evolution of manufacturers and the changes over time with respect both types and styles of tagging. Focus areas will include application, location, and understanding the concept of variations and legitimacy.

ELECTIVES Courses for Specialized Concentrations:

Bat Labeling: Students will study the concept of manufacturer’s labels and markings as it applies to the areas of dating and product quality.

Independent Study: Topic subject to pre-approval. Pre-requisites are all Core course work and Building a Research Library. Student will narrowly focus a topic on a particular team or player with an emphasis in producing a product that has value as hobby/industry reference.

Helmets: Students will study the history of protective headgear with an emphasis on identifying those items manufactured for contemporary retail sale and the problems they create for the hobby/industry.

Leather Over Time: A broad survey of leather products such as gloves, balls, and footwear and the problems associated with these items with respect to professional use and attribution.

There are a couple of reasons I took the time to lay this out and none of them have to do with meeting a deadline. For the collector, it offers some insights on what areas you may want to focus your own personal/professional development on. It also offers a template by which you can begin to evaluate the qualifications of those working in the field. While no one will be able to produce a certificate of completion for this program, you could evaluate their relative merits using these as guidelines.

Another reason I set this up as I did ties back into something I have been talking about for some time, that being the idea of running a series of seminars covering topics such as these. My goal is to work towards making something like this available in conjunction with the National next summer in Cleveland. If there is an area that you feel would be most valuable or informative, your thoughts are always more than welcome.

Finally, I think that an exercise like this is good for MEARS internally. It provides a template on how we can shape and structure our own (either individual or collective) continuing education.


LTC MEARS Auth, LLC can be reached for comment on this article at:

14218 Roland Court
Woodbridge, VA 22193