The late Dick Dobbins of Alamo, California was one of the classiest, most knowledgeable and integrity-filled people to ever grace any segment of the sports collecting hobby. Dobbins actively bought, sold, and collected jerseys for decades, even penning a book on Pacific Coast League history during his too-brief life.

Dobbins was of the opinion shared by some (though not all) collectors and dealers that jersey restoration was acceptable, if it followed certain criteria. Lon Lewis, a Bay Area hobby great in his own right, was the fellow who helped Dobbins with his restorations, the vast majority of which were phenomenal.

The criteria Dobbins used to differentiate a legitimate restoration from illegitimate doctoring are fourfold, and constitute what I like to call “Dobbins’ Rules of Restoration”, which will be detailed now:

1) All restorations of numbers and lettering should be as close to the original appearance as possible.

Translated, size of NOB and numbers should be matched. The tall, thin NOB font of a Cincinnati Reds flannel should not be restored with a smaller sized font, a la the Cardinals or the Orioles road greys of the late flannel era. If the original NOB is straight, arched, or vertically arched, the restoration should be the same. A felt Dodgers number should be restored with similar felt, not tackle twill. The solid navy cotton twill NOB of a White Sox pre-1969 flannel should not be replaced with a two-toned NOB.

2) The restorations should be true to the original identity of the jersey.

The stripped-down 1972 Cubs road knit of #28 does NOT become a #26 when restored. Your Giants flannel of Don McMahon stays as a Don McMahon when restored…it does not magically transform into a Willie Mays or a Juan Marichal. Commons don’t transform into stars after the restoration process is complete.

3) The asking price of a restored jersey should reflect the status of the jersey as being restored.

The percentage of all-original value a restored jerseys carries can be viewed differently from person to person, but there’s no question the value is less for a restored piece, even a perfectly restored one, than there is for an all original exemplar.

4) The presence of a restoration should be made known to a prospective buyer before a sale is consummated.

ANY variance from the original, restored or not, should be posted in a price list, eBay or auction listing when offered. Any restoration falls into this category, as well as missing patches, missing or replaced buttons, snaps or zippers, and missing NOBs. Failure to do so is legitimate grounds for a buyer to seek a refund, if the flaw affects the deal negatively in their eyes.

Restored jerseys aren’t for everybody, but they do provide an enhanced display appearance for collectors who accept them in their collections when performed in a quality manner. And, if you want that quality manner, just listen to Dick Dobbins via the printed word.


Three players with uniform retirement ceremonies in December of note:

The number 30 was retired by the Portland Trailblazers for two different players at two consecutive home games. First off was longtime Blazers star Terry Porter who was honored on December 16. Two evenings later, Bobby Gross, a member of Portland’s only NBA championship team who also wore #30 was similarly honored.

More recently, on December 28, the Washington Capitals celebrated the Caps career of Mike Gartner by retiring his #11 sweater. He was the fourth Caps player honored in this manner.


The ongoing saga of the arrest and possible impeachment of Governor Rod Blagojevich (D-Illinois), accused of trying to sell the vacated Senate seat of President-elect Barack Obama, has inspired a spoof by one minor league hockey team. The Las Vegas Wranglers will wear, and then auction, jerseys with prison uniform striping on Blago Prison Uniform Night, January 30. In addition to the jailbird black-and-white pinstripes, the jerseys will be numbered with the words (i)ILL GOV (/i) above the player uniform number.


EBay recently saw it’s second bad Pete Rose Reds knit in the same month, a marginally better fake than the home jersey previously mentioned in this space, but still pretty obvious. This time, whomever put the forgery together (not necessarily the seller) had the correct manufacturer (1986 Rawlings road), but an obviously tampered with tag that indicated a size 40…something never seen on any true Rose gamer. An attempt by Pete Rose specialist Chuck Lumb to inform the seller of the flaws this jersey had did not get a reply.


I haven’t heard anyone suggest this for a while, but this hobby myth from many moons ago shows just what can happen when card collectors with vivid imaginations can spread rumors of when they step out of their comfort zone and start offering commentary on game-used items.

The myth was first published, and refuted, in Beckett Baseball Card Monthly circa 1990. In the wake of the 1989 Fleer Billy Ripken card with the obscene notation on the knob, some unnamed collector or dealer of cards began claiming that another Fleer card, the 1987 issue of Andres Galarraga, also carried a lewd notation on the knob. Beckett refuted the rumor, but never did offer an opinion of just what the writing on the bat knob was.

If you have even moderate knowledge of game-used bats, you should be able to figure it out in short order. The Big Cat is swinging a Cooper bat in the photo, and the writing that sent some card enthusiasts into imagination overdrive was nothing more than the length and weight measurements that Cooper stamped on the knobs of players’ bats. Try again, card collectors!


Sammy Baugh, a member of the inaugural Pro Football Hall of Fame induction class based on his legendary career with the Washington Redskins, died December 17 of multiple causes at age 94.

Liver failure claimed the life of former MLB pitcher Dock Ellis on December 19 at age
63. He was a less than sterling example for kids during his career, having his best seasons with Pittsburgh and the 1976 Yankees. The 12-year vet, who threw a no-hitter while, according to him, high on LSD, found redemption after his career ended, becoming a strong opponent of drugs and willing to speak to all sorts of groups about avoiding the problems he experienced.

December 21 was the date of death for Negro Leaguer Carlos Manuel Santiago. The cause was cardiac failure. Santiago, 82 at the time of his death, played for the 1945-46 New York Cubans, and was in camp in 1951 with the Cleveland Indians when the draft came calling, and he shipped out to Korea with the U.S. Army.

Finally, NFL defensive lineman Coy Bacon passed away December 22 due to undisclosed causes. Best remembered as a fierce pass rusher with the Rams, Bacon also starred for the Chargers, Bengals and Redskins. His only NFL touchdown came on an 80-yard interception return in 1973 while a member of the Chargers.