Spring training is producing some unique patches for a few National League teams. The Pittsburgh Pirates are wearing a logo on their spring BP/game jerseys to celebrate their 40th year of training in Bradenton, Florida. Across the country and the Pacific Ocean, the unies being worn by the Dodgers and Padres (standard home whites and BP/spring game, respectively) will both carry a China Series 2008 patch, with wording in both English and Chinese. A differently shaped heat-pressed logo will be on the left side of the caps used by both squads in Beijing.
ALL US FLAG CAPS ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL
The cap segue allows me to continue with the U.S. flag game caps worn by all MLB teams since 2001. The current (2002-present) variety features a heat-pressed Stars and Stripes on the left side, with use being primarily on July 4th, Memorial Day, and the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The original, 2001 design was a bit different, however. As most of you will recall, the schedule was suspended for a week, with the games involved being tacked on to the end of the existing schedule. With the week of downtime, all MLB teams were issued U.S. flag caps, but with a difference from the later models. Instead of a heat-pressed logo, the flag on the 2001 version was embroidered directly into the cap fabric. I have a 2001 U.S. flag cap given to me the last day of the season by Pirates 1B Kevin Young. Subsequent years caps I and other collecting pals got from players or team sales had the heat-pressed flag. So, the originals from 2001 are, indeed, discernable from the others, and, in my humble opinion, should command a premium.
TAR HEELS TO RETIRE NUMBER
The #50 uniform of North Carolina star Tyler Hansbrough is to be retired, a custom UNC honors all College Basketball Player of the Year winners on the Tar Heels.
AN EXAMPLE OF THEM
For those who read my article several months ago about commons being faked, a few such bogus non-star jerseys just popped up on eBay. Touted as game-used, the pair (one Arizona, one Colorado) carry retail tagging that one will not find on late 1990s/early 2000s jerseys of either team. The pair was priced with opening bids reasonable for non-team issued shirts, but anyone thinking they are getting a steal on a game-worn jersey will be sorely mistaken.
Otto Schnellbacher, a pro in three different major sports leagues, died at age 84 early last week. Schnellbacher’s 4-year pro football career was evenly split between the AAFC New York Yanks and the NFL New York Giants, while also playing in the 1948-49 NBA season with the Providence Steamrollers and St. Louis Bombers…anything he wore, especially the items from the two long-defunct NBA clubs, would be prime auction material. He appeared on a 1951 Bowman football card.
Also, 8-year WR Buddy Dial, who spent 1959-63 as a Steeler and 1964-66 wearing Southland Cowboys durene gamers, passed away on February 29th as a result of complications from treatment for cancer and pneumonia. He was 79.
Dial appeared on a handful of Topps football cards, one of which (1963) is a short print.
TWO WEEKS TO GO TO OPENING DAY!