2008 WEARABLE NOTES
A few new game-worn occurrences have popped up since the All-Star break. Two teams wore unusual jerseys last Sunday: the White Sox, who sported 1983 Turn Back The Clock gamers by Majestic, in conjunction with the unveiling of the Harold Baines statue at the stadium, as well as the Baltimore Orioles, who, in an attempt to break a 14-game home Sunday losing streak, wore their orange BP tops for the game. Unfortunately, it didn’t work as the O’s made it 15 with a loss.
This wasn’t the first time a team wore practice attire during a game in hopes of busting a slump. The 1994 Cubs, who, as of May 2nd that year, had yet to win a game at home, wore their blue BP jerseys that evening and lost to Cincinnati 9-0, before finally winning the next day. The Padres, that season, also wore their dark blue BPs in an effort to stem the tide of a bad luck binge at Wrigley Field.
Finally, Bobby Murcer has been eulogized with a black armband on the Yankees gamers (left sleeve) for the remainder of the year. In this case, the armband was a better choice than a jersey number, as his two Yankee uni digits (1 and 2) have been retired already in the case of #1 (Billy Martin) and, in the case of #2, is being worn by the face of the franchise (Derek Jeter, natch).
NO, IT DOESN’T MEAN THAT
I received an off-site email from a collector who recently purchased a game-worn Brewers jersey. The collar strip tag carried the year and the notation S.O.B. He wonders what the S.O.B. represents (and, yes, he knows it doesn’t mean that ).
The notation designates a jersey made for the Brewers’ Shirts Off Our Backs promotion (no connection to this column). Jerseys are worn for one game, and then removed, often signed, and given to fans via ticket raffle or other selection means. Many teams have a promotion like this these days, and teams that mark the promotional threads have differing means of doing so. While the Brewers, for example, use the S.O.B. notation on the strip tag, the Dodgers have an intricately done logo affixed to the front right tail.
BLACKHAWKS JERSEY RETIREMENT
The Chicago Blackhawks, making as much news as a hockey team ever has in the midst of baseball season, have announced that a date on the 2008-09 schedule will feature a ceremony retiring sweater #3.
Much as the MLB Yankees retired #8 for two players (Bill Dickey and Yogi Berra), the Blackhawks will likewise honor two great defensemen with this ceremony. Pierre Pilote, a Hall of Fame player on the team’s last Stanley Cup winner, will be honored, as will his successor, Keith Magnuson, not a Hall enshrinee but an immensely popular and pugilistic wearer of the Indian Head, who tragically died in an auto accident a couple of years ago.
1984-86 RAWLINGS BASKETBALL TAGGING
Some concerns over a recently auctioned Bulls gamer of Caldwell Jones have prompted me to share the myriad of tagging arrangements on mid-1980s Rawlings NBA jerseys
Basically, a set tagging style was not used by Rawlings during those years. The New Jersey Nets, for example, used tagging that would do an MLB jersey proud, including extra length flag tags and a box tag with a chain-stitched year.
Few other teams used Rawlings jerseys in that era in the NBA, but just considering two teams…the Chicago Bulls and the Houston Rockets…evidence a number of different arrangements, and this doesn’t even include year tags, not used by these two teams.
Rawlings tags with the normal feature of all four sides being sewn onto the jersey can be seen on both teams. However, the normal retail arrangement of the red Rawlings tag (only left and right sides sewn to jersey) DOES actually appear on some game-issued NBA shirts, the Jones Bulls being one, and a recently sold Rockets jersey on eBay from Ball Park Heroes. Another Rockets jersey I owned years ago…a Ralph Sampson…had a retail Rawlings tag flagged in the collar, with a standard Rawlings extra length tag flagged directly next to it.
With NBA jerseys like these, tagging is variant and not detailed…best to study up on gamers of this genre before issuing a thumbs up or down.
THE SKINNY ON 1997 REDS ROAD JERSEYS
One may wonder why the 1997 Russell-made Reds road jerseys have the odd tiny sleeves that they do. The tale starts with the jerseys worn by Deion Sanders, which carried the odd sleeves due to special tailoring. His teammates wore normal baseball jersey sleeves…until the MLB Fashion Police stuck their noses into the situation. Neon Deion was told that all the Reds had to wear the same sleeve cut on their road jerseys per MLB rules, and he had to switch to the standard sleeve cut. Needless to say, he didn’t…but not as a show of disobedience. The rest of the Reds team decided to support the two-sport star, and had their sleeves tailored like his, with the Jackie Robinson patches re-situated over the shoulder seam. That was a nice back-up job by Sanders’ Reds mates.
ALL HAIL THE INDIAN HEAD…THE BLACKHAWKS ARE ON THE RISE!!