The “Twenty Firsts” article will be run as a special midweek extra in June. Meantime, plenty of stuff going on at the moment gives me a chance to report the more timely news here.
NBA JERSEYS AUCTIONED
The NBA is using its website (www.nba.com) to auction a number of special occasion jerseys from this past season.
Hardwood Classics gamers worn by the Lakers, Warriors and Rockets, including a #24 Kobe Bryant, are up for bids, as are a number of Knicks St. Patrick’s Day gamers. Bids are being accepted online until the evening of June 5th. All included items are registered with MeiGray, and bear their tagging.
MINOR LEAGUE PATCH
The Midwest League Kane County Cougars are sporting a uniform tribute patch in memory of the Northern Illinois University shooting tragedy several months ago. The team’s home (Geneva, Illinois) is not too far from the university’s location in nearby DeKalb.
CUBS TO HOST FIRST EVER TBTC GAME
The Chicago Cubs’ history in Turn Back the Clock participation has been minimal. Two games on the road (at Philadelphia in 1992 and at Comiskey Park in 1997) have been it. Heck, they’ve refused to take part in just as many (1991 at San Francisco and 2004 at San Diego). Finally, though, the Cubs will actually host a retro uniform event.
Mark your calendars for June 12, when the Cubs host the Atlanta Braves. Both teams will wear 1948-style uniforms for the event.
A MIX OF TAGS
A couple of recent eBay offerings may have been confusing to buyers, due to a mix of legitimate tagging and forged tagging. Both from the same seller, one was a 1972 Tigers knit allegedly worn by Al Kaline, with a fully proper tail strip tag. Unfortunately, the wrongly-located Wilson tag bore a size 40 notation, a size I have never seen associated with a Kaline gamer, as well as a wrong size font on the NOB.
That same improperly appearing NOB also was on a 1986 Phillies home Mike Schmidt, as well as a NIC tag whose embroidery font didn’t match the legitimate “86 2” strip tag in the tail, right below the legitimate Wilson Prestige Teams label. Someone (maybe not the seller) apparently upgraded the identities on these two items to milk big bucks out of them illegitimately.
DID THE RIGHT THING
Ball Park Heroes in Bedford, Indiana, is considered a top dealer of game-used jerseys in the hobby. Here’s an example why:
BPH recently received a powder blue NNOB Cubs road pinstripe knit of a #44. It would have been easy enough to accept it at face value and plead ignorance if a buyer had a problem with it down the road.
Fortunately, that’s not the way the Stigall brothers do things. Kim sent out a few emails, including one to yours truly, to spot flaws he felt the jersey might have, as the piece troubled him upon receipt. The jersey, as it happened, had a blank collar strip tag, a 1979-86 Wilson tag, and a “77 1” strip tag in the tail…this on a style that only has a chain-stitched year in a tail box tag. Further, the style described above was only used for one year…1978. In ’79, NOBs were added, and, in ’77, the pinstripes had not yet been added.
RAYS UNI ODDITY
While playing the Cardinals in St. Louis two Sundays ago, the Rays wore their BP jerseys for game action.
CAN’T GET MORE EVEN THAN THIS
After this past week’s sweep of the Dodgers at Wrigley Field, the Cubs and Dodgers have played 2,020 games against each other. The teams’ all-time record in this competition? Both are 1,010-1,010…that in a pairing of over 110 years duration!
Geremi Gonzalez, whose interrupted MLB career began in 1997 with the Cubs, died at age 33 when he was struck by lightning while on the beach in his native Venezuela.
Luc Bourdon, a defenseman for the Vancouver Canucks who just completed his rookie NHL season, was killed in a motorcycle accident. He was 21.
Thomas McHale, a lineman who played for Tampa Bay, Philadelphia and Miami in the NFL from 1987-95, died a week ago at age 45. Tests revealed a mix of anti-depressants and cocaine in his system as the cause.
Finally, Jack Mildren, the first Sooners QB to run their vaunted Wishbone offense, died May 21. He switched to safety in the NFL and played for the Colts (1972-73) and the Patriots (1974).
CUBS 10, ROCKIES 9!! THIS IS THE YEAR!!