TWO STYLES…TWO YEARS…NO MLB WEAR
Every once in a while, a MLB team will create a style for their players to wear, but, for unknown reasons, that team didn’t get to wear them…two examples to follow.
1980 Expos road: What the Expos wore on the road in 1980 was a powder blue version of their home white tops. Both were by Rawlings, both had the red and blue racing stripes. What was made for Les Expos, but not worn by them (on the Major League Level, anyway) were sets of 1980 powder blues made by Wilson and identical in design to their 1978-79 road unies. The jerseys did get used, but by Expos farm teams…if you happen upon one, the numbers will show wear, while the NOB won’t, as it was plated over.
1994 Cubs alternate: Russell made the 1994 home and road unies the Cubs wore, as well as a blue mesh alternate that never got pulled out for a game. On these, the Cubs detailed strip tag was in the tail, not the collar. And, for those of you protesting “Wait, Dave, the Cubs wore blue mesh jerseys on May 2 against the Reds!), those were the blue Majestic BP jerseys with typical block numbers and no NOB. I was there, and won’t forget the night easily, as I caught a home run on the fly (Bret Boone) and was mentioned by name by collector/ex-Sports Center anchor Keith Olbermann when he played the highlight that night.
THE 800 L. GORILLA THAT WON’T GO AWAY
Despite repeated mentions of 1989-90 Score Board tagged retail jerseys both here and on Game Used Forum, as well as hobby paper articles, there are still plenty of clueless collectors (and at least on clueless authenticator) believing these items to be game-used, despite telltale details on the tags and other features being shared in print of jerseys that are not gamers.
The latest example I came across doesn’t come with an erroneous hobby LOA, but a claim from a clubhouse guy. A 1989 Rangers Score Board Nolan Ryan jersey was being auctioned as game-used based on verbal (not written) provenance by a Florida Marlins clubbie. Seems odd that a clubbie for a team that didn’t begin play until 1993 would have it’s equipment guy get a game-worn 1989 jersey from a team whose only possible face-to-face contact would be in spring training, as there was no interleague play yet?
My guess is that the clubbie was given or purchased a Score Board Ryan, or (possibly) he was employed by an American League team in 1989, able to meet Ryan for this gift. If that were the case, I’d want to play up his previous employment to make the story sound a little better. Of course, said story is unreliable in the first place, as there’s no way it’s a jersey Ryan wore. Telltale signs: 1990-91 style Rawlings tag in 1989 set 1 jersey, and 34 1 1989 strip tag (Texas did not use 4-digit years in their 1989 strip tagging).
SPECIAL DAY FOR BIGGIO
On August 17 at Minute Maid Park, the Houston Astros will have a ceremony to retire the #7 jersey of career Astro and future Hall of Famer Craig Biggio. His number will join nine others retired by the “Stros, including longtime teammate and buddy Jeff Bagwell, whose #5 was retired last season.