It is not too unusual to see older jerseys used by players in a given year or recycled from year to year in any of the big three sports leagues. Certain teams and genres, however, are notably prone to these practices. The Shirt will review a dozen such teams/years that will be more frequently encountered than usual that fall under this category.
1975-77 Cleveland Indians
The Tribe was a low-budget franchise at the time. They DID have hot water in the showers, working whirlpools, and didn’t travel on the road by bus, but they DID get a lot of mileage out of their unies. One can find 1975 gamers (no tail year tag) and 1976 game shirts (Bicentennial patch on right sleeve) being used one and even two seasons later.
1976-78 Chicago White Sox
This was ownership term #2 for Bill Veeck, creative, fan-focused, but short on bucks. Most of the team’s 1976 game jerseys were sans flag tag, while 1977’s and ’78s had them. Still, the tagless ’76s can be found recycled all the way to 1979 spring training, the Rawlings version’s last hurrah, followed by the Capital Ace version of 1979-81.
1977-79 Seattle Mariners
Particularly on the home Wilson styles, I’ve seen 1977 regular season gamers with the 1979 All-Star Game patch on the left sleeve.
1974/1976 Mets home
Mets recycling is minimal, but twice in the last 4 months I have seen 1974 gamers pulled out of storage for 1976 newcomers, with modification added in the form of the NL Centennial patch (right) and the Joan Payson/Casey Stengel memoriam band (left).
1998-99 Arizona Diamondbacks
Sam Kiser, a collector and D-Backs employee, informed me years ago that a lot of ’98s were recycled on the big league level for 1999, with the left sleeve patch changed from the Inaugural Year D-Back logo to the standard version. I have since reviewed for MEARS a home 1998 Luis Gonzalez that had the team-performed patch switch done.
1970s/early 1980s Minnesota Twins
Of the era’s low budget owners, none was tighter with the wallet than Calvin Griffith of the Twins. Jerseys from these years were routinely used for more than one season, and often had number and name changes, sometimes obvious due to the font of the numerals. I recall seeing the visiting equipment man picking up the 1983 Twins jerseys that made the trip to Comiskey Park from outside laundering…one of the jerseys had a 1978 year tag.
1970-71 Cleveland Indians
It’s tough to find a 1970 Tribe gamer (home Wilson or road Spalding) with the 3-D front lettering intact and original. Most had the fancy front replaced for 1971 wear, when a simple navy blue INDIANS (home) or CLEVELAND (road) replaced the 3-D version of those words used on the ’70 gamers.
1966-68 White Sox jerseys
Since Wilson was the home supplier for all three seasons, the MLB-level recycling isn’t as dramatic. Road powder blues are another story, however. MacGregor supplied the roads in 1966-67, and Wilson did the honors in ’68. A lot of 1967 MacGregor roads were also used in ’68, as evident if the Illinois Sesquicentennial patch, worn in 1968, has been added. Even stranger: a 1967 White Sox road worn by Rocky Colavito from the collection of the late Dr. John Goldberg, year tagged 1966, and with the entire front script changed for ’67 use, from a block, arched CHICAGO to the cursive Chicago with WHITE SOX embroidered in white on the underslash.
2004-05 St. Louis Rams
It seems there are quite a few 2004 Rams gamers that were worn in 2005. A 2004 jersey not recycled for the following year should still have the 10th Anniversary St. Louis Rams patch.
2001-2002 Reebok NFL
A lot of recycling went on with most NFL teams went on with the 2001 Reebok gamers, the first season that reebok made almost everybody’s uniforms (with a handful of teams still using Adidas). A 2001 Reebok jersey has the large tag in the tail (assuming the tail wasn’t shortened) with the image of the specific team’s helmet as the centerpiece of the design. The jerseys broken out or re-used for 2002 will have the new NFL neck shield logo on them…the original version was last used in 2001.
2004-05 Baltimore Ravens alternates
One auction I perused about a year ago had about a dozen of these black Ravens gamers. At least half were 2004 year tagged, and worn in 2005 with the 10th nAnniversary Ravens patch added.
1992-93 Dallas Cowboys
Russell was the team’s uniform source in 1992, with Apex taking over in 1993. Not unusual are ’92 Russells recycled with the triangular Apex sleeve logo added in 1993.
ANOTHER 1989 GAMER WITH 1990 RAWLINGS LABEL
Ebay recently featured a set 2 1989 flag tagged Padres road gamer of Fred Lynn, worn by the 1975 MVP in 1990. The Rawlins tag was the 1990-91 style (three lines of laundry instructions) rather than the 1988-89 tag (four lines of laundry instructions). A handful of legitimate 1989 tagged jerseys have shown up with the 1990-91 tag. The potential stumbling block on this disparate tag pairing is that most, if not all, the 1989 tagged Score Board retail jerseys have the ’90-’91 tag, as well, causing confusion among less astute collectors and routinely getting past at least one nationally known authenticator. This pairing can and does legitimately happen, but only on rare occasions.
In the NFL, two older players are no longer with us. Ken Konz, a member of the Browns from 1953-59, died February 5 in suburban Cleveland. He was 79.
On February 1, Al De Mao, a two-way player (C-MLB) for the Redskins from 1945-53, died of pneumonia in Glen Burnie, MD at age 87.
In MLB, Dario Lodigiani, a member of the 1938-40 Philadelphia A’s as well as the 1941-42 and ’46 White Sox, died at age 91 in Napa, CA. He spent much of his post-playing careers as a scout for the Chisox.
It is agreed that any jerseys, caps or helmets worn by any of these three would be a major addition to mo0st collections. Focusin on gumcards, here’s much of what out there on the trio:
Konz: 1955 Bowman, 1956-59 Topps
De Mao: 1950-51 Bowman
Lodigiani: 1941 Big League Gum, 1946 Play Ball (contemporary fantasy set), multiple late 1940s PCL sets
Pitchers and catchers have reported…the world will soon be right again.