Beginning in 1963, and continuing for years, a few free-spirited or otherwise individualistic players wore game jerseys out of the norm, using first names or nicknames instead of the traditional last name. The Kansas City A’s started it off with a knit forerunner fabric by Wilson with both used. one bugaboo with these:

A ROCK jersey exists that has been offered more than once as a Rocky Colavito. Not the case, as a) it isn’t the Rock’s A’s number, b)Colavito was with KC in 1964, not ’63, and c)
photographic evidence on both cards and at least one wire photo show Rocky and his mates wearing 1962 unies in ’64 camp.

Ken Harrelson’s 1969 vests bore his nickname (HAWK) on the back.
Vida Blue, with Oakland, San Francisco and Kansas City, wore far more gamers labeled VIDA than BLUE.

The Topps 1974 card of Billy Conigliaro shows him in a ’73 pullover with the NOB reading BILLY C.

Owner Ted Turner had a plan for 1976: nickname/first name NOBs on the team’s pinstriped homes. Most were legit (Jim Wynn=CANNON, Maxamino Leon=MAX, Dick Ruthven+RUFUS). The whole concept was nixed by then-Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, whose sense of humor was on par with your typical NFL executive (i.e., none). Reason: Turner was going to have Andy Messersmith wear CHANNEL on his #17 shirt, a not-so-subtle attempt at free advertising for one of Turner’s TV properties.

Then, there’s the 1977 Oakland gamers used by Dick Allen, who had WAMPUM (his hometown in Pennsylvania) above his #60.

I saw on eBay a first tonight…a nickname on a strip tag!
The jersey was a Steiner-sourced 1999 Yankees road of Roger Clemens, with a name in tail of ROCKET. Not much of this is happening in recent years…too bad, as collectors, I’m sure, would enjoy having odd jerseys like these when the teams released them.


All member teams of the NCAA Southeastern Conference will, just like football season, wear SEC 75th Anniversary patches on their basketball tops, as well.


Sports Collectors Daily recently reported a memorabilia theft from the Kirkland, Quebec home of former NHLer Sergio Momesso. Thieves broke into Momesso’s home and stole only four items…three of his game-worn sweaters (red Montreal #36; black Vancouver #27; white St. Louis #27 signed by then-teammate Brett Hull), as well as his 1986 Stanley Cup ring. Collectors are advised to contact law enforcement if they are offered these items.


Several former pros left this mortal coil in the past week.

Former Dodger mound star Johnny Podres died Sunday at age 75. He was MVP from the 1955 World Series, and a Brooklyn jersey from that Fall Classic would be as good as it gets on Podres jerseys. Podres also spent close to 2 seasons with Detroit (traded there by Dodgers after only one appearance in ’66), and then, after a year’s retirement, pitched for the first-year Padres.

After several months of failing health, Don Cardwell died at age 72. He is best appreciated by Mets and Cubs fans. He was a mentor as well as a pitcher for the 1969 Miracle Mets (wouldn’t you LOVE to have a ’69 Mets Series gamer of his?) Cubs followers remember his 1960 no-hitter against St. Louis…in his first start with the Cubs after being traded there by the Phillies.

Before those two chronologically, but reported afterwards, was the passing of Steve Ridzik at age 78 due to heart disease. Ridzik was a member of the 1950 Whiz Kid Phillies. Most desirable jersey options: 1950 WS Phillies flannels. Honorable mention: An expansion Senators flannel from his time there in the 1960s.

And finally, from the NFL, Steelers star Ernie Holmes died Thursday from injuries suffered in a one-car auto accident. He was 59. His career spanned 7 years, although 6 of those were with the great Steelers squads in the 1970’s. His final year (1978) was with the Patriots.
Any Sand-Knit Steelers gamer of his would be a great collectible, with the best of them probably being the black Super Bowl shirt with the BiCentennial patch.

For now….farewell.