UNIQUE/RECYCLED SPRING TRAINING JERSEYS
Teams have, on rare occasions, worn game jerseys in preseason exhibition play than those worn during the regular season. Five examples follow, following from most recent to oldest.
1990’s Expos: During the first several years of the pinstriped home jerseys made by Russell, the Expos wore a game jersey similar to their April-to-September threads, but the spring versions carried a larger number and no name on back. The 1995 Topps card #622 of Pedro Martinez shows an example of this.
1977 Mariners: The team ordered home unies from Wilson, and road powder blues from Goodman. Two different styles were used in their inaugural year…NNOB jerseys for spring training, and jerseys with NOBs for the regular season. An example of the 1977 spring homes with NNOB can be seen on John Montague’s 1979 Topps card (#337).
1969 Pilots: While Wilson shared regular season sourcing with Spalding for the Pilots’ only year of existence, Wilson covered both the home whites and road greys in their first spring training. The spring style was basic, a blue upper case PILOTS across the front, a blue number on the back, and a Wilson tag with no accompanying year or set tagging in the tail. EBay has an example of the road genre worn by coach Eddie O’Brien up for bids currently, but the “added” 100th Anniversary patch on the eBay jersey was never used on either spring style.
1960s Kansas City/Oakland A’s: As has been mentioned here in the past, the Athletics wore jerseys from BEFORE the previous season often in their Arizona activities every March. Slugger Jim Gentile is shown in a 1964 spring training photo on his 1965 Topps card (#365).
Also, the 1968 Oakland A’s vests with the fancy OAKLAND front saw action as late as 1971 spring camp. Topps’ 1972 card of Bob Locker, #537, shows Locker in a spring shot that can be no earlier than 1971, as he joined the A’s mid-season in 1970, going to spring camp that March with the Pilots/Brewers.
1961 Senators: The previous offseason found the original Washington Senators relocating to Minneapolis-St. Paul and beginning their new life as the Twins. While the expansion Senators were a new team, they began their existence wearing the OLD Senators uniforms! The Unies with the Mr. Senator patch on the left sleeve from 1960 were their March attire, as shown on the 1961 Topps Harry Bright card (#447).
ANOTHER HIGH SET NUMBER
Majestic has been known to issue close to or over a dozen sets of jerseys for some players, and another one is up for auction. Game Used Forum has up for bidding a perfectly authentic Alfonso Soriano Cubs gamer in their current auction, strip tagged as a set 10. Set numbers as high as set 20 (Vernon Wells, Blue Jays) have been legitimately issued by Majestic in the past.
MORE ON UPSHAW MEMORIAM
While the GU63 Gene Upshaw memoriam patches were removed from NFL jerseys after the first week of the season (except for Upshaw’s former team, the Raiders), Upshaw’s memory lives on across the NFL in the form of a helmet decal with the same design as the memoriam patch.
NHL PRESEASON PATCHES
The four NHL squads that visited Europe for a round of exhibition games wore NHL Premiere patches on their game sweaters. The patches include the NHL premiere logo, the dates of the exhibitions (October 4-5, 2008), the host city (either Stockholm or Prague) and modified designs of the host nations’ flags (Sweden and the Czech Republic). I’ll be surprised if MeiGray doesn’t end up with these sweet sweaters for distribution via sale to collectors and fans.
THIS JAY IS NOT OK
A recently offered 1980 Toronto Blue Jays Bob Bailor home jersey drew only a $135 high bid…incredibly low, until you consider the myriad of problems the jersey possesses. A Rawlings manufacture (when Wilson made homes and Rawlings only produced roads), a variant Blue Jays front font not consistent with known authentic gamers, a NOB font not consistent with known exemplars, and improper location of the Rawlings and strip tags held the bidding down.
I will stress, however, that the seller is a card dealer of the highest integrity and standards…my strong belief is that he himself got burned when acquiring the jersey, and, not being a game-used aficionado, assumed it was as presented to him, and offered it accordingly.
George Kissell, longtime employee of the St. Louis Cardinals organization, died earlier this week in a car crash. He was 88. Kissell’s coaching career in the majors began in 1969.
LET’S GO ALL THE WAY, RAYS!!!