ANOTHER TAGGING ODDITY
There are actually two groups of set 1 and set 2 1985 Cubs home and road jerseys in circulation. While the jerseys worn by the Wrigleys in 1985 carry the 85 year notation in the collar strip tag and tail box tag, such is also the case for their 1984 NLCS attire. The Cubs were intending to wear their 1984 postseason garb as their standard ’85 duds, but the gut-wrenching loss to the Padres in the NLCS (up 2-0 only to lose the next three and the series) caused the team to discard these sets.
How does one tell and 85 tagged 1985 regular season shirt from an 85 tagged 1984 playoff wearable? The key is the right sleeve of the jersey. The 1984 playoff team wore a large round patch proclaiming themselves as 1984 NL East Champs. The patches were removed, but the round imprint is still there on these postseason threads. No imprint, and you’ve got yourself a 1985 regular season item.
PRE-1987 RAWLINGS LOGO
A recent auction allowed me to learn something about Rawlings advertising logos on MLB game uniforms. While the 1987 contract was the first widespread use of the manufacturer name on the jersey sleeve, there was at least one occasion upon which a Rawlings emblem was worn on an MLB uniform before that. In this case, it was the 1978 Reds Tour of Japan uniforms. While the grey roads during the season were Wilson products, the Reds went to Rawlings for the traveling grays worn in the postseason Japanese exhibition tour. On the pants, a red circle with a white script upper case R is featured on the left rear side of the pants, near the pocket. You learn something new every day!
THEMED UNIFORMS: MLB AND MILB
May 30th saw the White Sox and Royals donning Negro League Turn Back the Clock outfits. The home Royals wore Monarchs unies which were white with dark characters and pinstripes, while the Chisox donned dark blue American Giants togs, with white pinstripes and characters.
In the minors, the last few days have seen a couple of highly unusual themed jerseys. On June 4th, the Midwest League West Michigan Whitecaps, wearers of camouflage shirts earlier in the year, held a Pink Floyd Night. In honor of the rock group, jerseys with a theme based on their Dark Side of the Moon album cover were used.
Not to be outdone in terms of 60s/70s nostalgia, the following evening found the New York-Penn League Binghamton Mets beaming onto the field with Star Trek themed jerseys. The fronts included METS in print and a Starfleet Command logo on the upper left chest. Not sure if it’s logical, but it’s unique.
UNIFORM NEWS, OHL AND WNBA
The NHL website’s auction section (www.nhl.com) is offering sweaters from the February 4th OHL All-Star Classic. Jerseys will be up for bids until June 11, with staggered closing times beginning at 8PM CST. The jerseys are registered in the MeiGray database.
Meanwhile, the WNBA will be featuring a first-of-its-kind uniform for the four major North American professional sports leagues. Following the lead of pro soccer and NASCAR, the league’s Phoenix Mercury will wear uniforms in 2009 with the front side name of prominence not being PHOENIX or MERCURY, but rather LIFE LOCK, the result of a sponsorship deal between the Mercury and the nationally known ID theft prevention company. I really hope this trend is born and dies here, but, then again, I can recall collectors in 1987 (including myself) decrying the appearance of manufacturer insignias on pro uniforms, something that, with the exception of NBA game jerseys (though not warm-ups, shooting shirts nor practice shirts) is the norm in the NBA, NFL, NCAA football, NHL, MLB, and WNBA.
LOOK CLOSELY AT…
1992 Cubs road jerseys (and homes) in a size 46 with no wear and the #21 on the front and/or back. The Cubs original run of unies had the #21 jersey assigned to Alex Arias, who was cut during spring training, and the number was then assumed by Sammy Sosa. A name-changed road jersey would be an Arias that Sosa never saw, as the Cubs sold these jerseys as Arias items during their 1990s convention sales.
Randy Smith, an NBA star for several different teams from 1971-83, died of unknown causes this past Thursday. He was 60. Smith’s career was dominated by stints with the Buffalo Braves, who moved to San Diego and became the Clippers. He also spent brief stays with the Cavs, Knicks and Hawks.
CONGRATULATIONS, BIG UNIT, FOR A BIG #300 .