“READY-MADE BUT BOGUS HOF JERSEYS
Back in the days before scientific authentication, some of the high-demand items dealt around in a less knowledgeable hobby used to be nothing more than lesser-named jerseys altered with a scissors or thread puller to become something they weren’t, but which escaped detection in a then-authenticator-free hobby. Three such examples are detailed here.
Red Sox collectors of the 1970s and 1980s hade to be careful on McAuliffe Red Sox pullover knits of Fergie Jenkins and Luis Aparicio. Most of the jerseys in this era alleged to be worn by them while playing for the Bosox were actually common jersey in which the year tag just “happened” to have “fell out”, even though no other tags showed any signs of coming loose.
In Jenkins’ case, his predecessor as Boston’s #31 was coach Don Bryant…briefly Fergie’s teammate on the Cubs, and a coach in the early-mid 1970s with the Red Sox who, like Jenkins, wore #31 and, also like Jenkins, took a size 48. Presto, the 1972-75 Boston Bryants suddenly started popping up “missing” the year tag.
The same problem involves Luis Aparicio Red Sox pullovers. A Red Sox in 1972-73, the size 38 Little Looie had his #11 used after his retirement by a number of diminutive infielders, including Ramon Aviles and others. Ergo, alleged 1972 Bosox Aparicio gamers were actually later ones (he retired before the 1974 season, although it is possible that jerseys for that year were made for him, but either worn by another player or not worn at all). Of course, these excess Aparicio’s had a missing year tag, too.
Then, there are the handful of 1967 Astros home flannels of Eddie Mathews floating around. Wilson home Astros gamers of the era featured all tail tagging: the Wilson label in the tail, and a chain-stitched year entered directly into the fabric underneath. With Mathews and the next #11 on Houston, Denis Menke, both taking size 42 at the time, more than one 1968-70 Menke Shooting Star flannel had the tail conveniently (and underhandedly) cut so that the Wilson tag was intact, but the year notation was now gone.
One thing I’ve tried, with much, though not unerring success, has been to view eBay listings in which the seller declares PayPal Only . For many of these, I’ve emailed the seller, and politely asked if, with no Pay Pal account, would it be OK for me to bid and pay with a money order if I win? I’ve gotten the go-ahead far more tims than I’ve been turned down (twice). Things to remember: It’s a request, not a demand, so don’t get obnoxious or declarative in your email; don’t make the request on something ready to end in a few hours…I usually make sure the item has at least a day to go, so that the seller has time to digest and respond to my request; and, if the seller declines, no nasty emails in response. The seller has his or her reasons if he/she wants to stick with Pay Pal, so their preferences should be respected.
FINALLY, A FOLLOW-UP
I located another example of a variation in patch placement on a player-worn jersey. This one comes from the NFL, where a friend showed me a 1969 team picture postcard of the Minnesota Vikings. Clad in their home purples, the players all had the NFL 50 year patch on their left shoulders… except for safety Paul Krause, whose durene Sand-Knit shirt had the patch on his right shoulder!
THREE WEEKS AND ONE DAY TO OPENING DAY…I CAN’T WAIT!!!