We start with three more examples from recent years of wishful thinking and/or sloppy research by sellers of game-used items, starring a jersey and two bats.

For a number of years, a Cardinals flannel jersey with a 1967 flag tag (by Rawlings) and a number 9 on the back has been identified by sellers as a “Roger Maris spring training jersey”, usually justified by the presence of the year/set flag tag and the belief that “Minor league teams don’t use year tags”. There’s no truth to that previous mythical statement, and it fails to take into account the lack of a NIT tag, no name on back, and no space to ever have allowed for a NOB. You can’t make a Maris out of a morphed minor league piece, though that didn’t stop some people from trying.

Then, consider a 1986-89 LS C243 bat with the block letter name THOMAS on the barrel. Creative and/or clueless sellers have presented these as Frank Thomas minor league bats, explaining that the hand-inscribed 14 on the knob was Thomas’ minor league uniform number. Unfortunately (for them), Thomas never wore 14 in the minors, but another Thomas…Andres…did wear 14 on the MLB level with the Atlanta Braves in that time frame, and he ordered C243 models with a block lettered THOMAS on the barrel.

Finally, there’s the 1976 H&B BiCentennial lumber of Von Joshua, who spent part of the ’76 season with Milwaukee. A number 19 written on the knob have led some of the clueless to offer them as “Von Joshua bats used by Robin Yount”. What their inability/disinterest in researching prevents them from knowing is that (a) Joshua spent a couple of months in 1976 with San Francisco before joining the Brew Crew and (b) he wore 19 as a Giant. Oh, so easy and tempting to ignore when more dollars are available by propagating fiction instead.


The first MLB Turn Back the Clock Day I noticed was May 4th, as Oakland hosted Texas in a 1968-themed game. The Rangers road unies modeled the ’68 Washington Senators gray unies, while Oakland donned repros of their 1968 one year style vests with the fancy Oakland fronts, and even donning yellow batting helmets patterned after those the A’s wore in their first year by the Bay.


U.S. Cellular Field will host several fan-related activities this coming Saturday while Ozzie and his charges play in San Francisco. Among those activities will be the annual ballpark garage sale of game-used equipment. Check for details, or call the team at 312-674-1000. The sale was originally an off-season staple, but the close proximity on the calendar to the Soxfest sale and off-season repairs at the usual sale time a few years ago has caused the popular event to be moved to May or June the last few years.


When a well-meaning hobbyist e-mails an eBay seller to inform them of a mistake on an item they’re listing, many things can happen. The seller can thank you and add an amendment to his/her listing. If it’s an authenticity issue, they can pull the item. They can ignore you, or send you a nasty email, as one northeastern-based seller recently did to me regarding his Score Board Bo Jackson Royals jersey that he was selling as game-used. Or, in rare occasions, they can do more than one of these.

Case in point: a seller offering one of the many Rawlings minor league Orioles #8 BP-style jerseys that have been erroneously OK’d as game-worn Cal Ripken Jr. gamers by a non-MEARS authenticator. The seller, after my email alert about this, sent back a nice e-mail, acknowledging his awareness of both myself and MEARS, and asking me if I was connected to MEARS. When I e-mailed back and affirmed my employment with MEARS, I figured that he respected the company and myself enough to pull the item, or at least re-list it as what it was.

Boy, was I wrong. To the max.

The item’s initial listing ran it’s remaining course, with no winner. It has been re-listed twice, and has still drawn no action…maybe because publicity of such misauthenticated jerseys both here and on Game Used Forum have raised awareness, or maybe because the seller offers no refunds and does not consider a contrary opinion by another third-party authenticator to warrant making an exception. Either way, so far, so good…no collector has paid out money for this mislabeled piece.


Cal Howe, a pitcher in one game for the 1952 Chicago Cubs, died May 5 in Grand Rapids, Michigan at age 83. Howe pitched the last 2 innings of a September 26 game against the Cardinals, whiffing 2, walking 1, and allowing no hits as he finished the game. Baseball Almanac recounts that his favorite big league moment was inducing Stan Musial to ground out in that two-inning stint. He wore #53 in his September fling in The Show.