GAME-USED JERSEY DOGMA IN THE 1970’S
It’s amazing how far we’ve come in this hobby in 30+ years. The Internet, dealer bulk purchases, hobby sources like Steiner and MeiGray, authenticators, niche experts…these days, it’s hard to believe that the three beliefs and practices, which seem so uninformed and primitive today, we’re the standard beliefs of most game-used collectors thirty-some years ago:
Tags: databases on MEARS website and others show the time, shape, color, size, and any other aspect you’d want to know about what should be in a jersey. And, of course, forged tags are easy to detect for those in the know, such as in MEARS Auth, LLC’s recent article on the Hank Aaron Braves jersey.
Yet, back in the era of Ford and Carter, most collectors accepted anything as genuine if it had tags. Not the right tags… any tags. Exemplars were hard to obtain, as the hobby was then in an adversarial position with pro sports leagues. Bulk buys were just beginning at the end of this decade. And perfectly legitimate jerseys, such as Goodman-issued Dodgers knits, often went wanting because “they don’t have tags, so they can’t be real”. Meanwhile, fakes like the 1975 White Sox Dick Allen jersey with the red embroidery in the NIC and tail strip tags, went from owner to owner for many years, before winding up in the auspices of the White Sox themselves for a ballpark display.
Autographed jerseys: Many, if not most collectors, held the belief back in this time frame that a player wouldn’t autograph a jersey unless it was a game-used item. We can easily see the foolishness of such claims today, but, back then, it was borderline gospel, as was the case with two Chicago area collecting brothers of the time, both of whom were thoroughly convinced their 1975 McAuliffe-made Brewers home knit of Hank Aaron had to be real…after all, he signed it, didn’t he?
Flannels: Today, flannels are seen for what they truly are…often scarce or rare, always a window into history, and costly. Back in the ’70’s, though, flannels were anathema to many collectors. The mindset of jersey collecting back then was often one of “dress to impress”…get a wild or popular jersey style (Yankees pinstripe, Astros Rainbow, Indians red, and wear it to impress your softball buddies, pick up babes at the local singles bar, ad nauseum. Flannels usually went for LESS than the more superficially sought knits…you may have had to fork over $200 for even a lesser name Astros rainbow gamer, but could have some flannels for as little as $50. At a card show of the era, the late Dr. John Goldberg had two common flannels, a $65 asking price for the pair, and threatened to burn them and/or throw them in the garbage if they weren’t sold by show’s end. I much prefer the way it is now.
A new and bigger group of Angels TBTC 1971 home jerseys (worn in May of this year) are up for auction on MLB.com. Also showing up on the sport’s auction site: Rays TBTC St. Petersburg Pelicans and 2006 TBTC Tampa Tarpons; Astros Rainbow TBTCs; and Mariners 1978 TBTC road gamers (not cheap) from their June 28th retro-1978 game with the Padres at San Diego (the Pads also wore 1978-style unies, as well).
2 PRO LINE TAGS = 1 RETAIL JERSEY
Upon the heels of the retail Vikings Puma jersey (black size tag instead of white) mentioned last week, another Vikes jersey of retail origin popped up on eBay with a game-used description.
The jersey, a NNOB type like the bogus Puma piece, is a Starter with 2 Pro Line tags. The Pro Line notation is correct to appear on the Starter supplier label itself, but a second Pro Line tag, similar to those found on Wilson NFL retail items, and no year notation box tag tends to frown on this item being an actual team piece.
NO BRAWL HERE
With the inevitable legal dispute that every milestone home run that lands in a fan area seems to bring these days, it was nice to see the aftermath of Albert Pujols’ 300th homer. The ball hit the left field foul pole, and bounced back on the field.
I usually don’t publish coaching obits if the deceased wasn’t also a uniformed player of the sport at one point, but this one merits an exception.
John Pont, a football coach for Miami of Ohio, Yale, Indiana and Northwestern (in that order) succumbed to a long battle with leukemia on July 1. He was 80.
Pont’s big moment as a coach came in 1967. The previous year’s Hoosiers gridiron squad went 1-8-1. He turned the team around that year, finishing 9-2, including a 1968 Rose Bowl loss to USC. To this day, it was the only Rose Bowl appearance in Indiana’s history.
SALUTING OUR MILITARY
In addition to the stars and stripes logo caps MLB teams are wearing this weekend, the White Sox hosted Oakland on July 4th wearing military camouflage jerseys.
BIG Z IS HEALTHY AND DEALIN’…THIS IS THE YEAR!!