One column, three follow-ups from previous Shirt articles…

Set 3 Rawlings tags

The flag tag utilized by Rawlings for several decades uses the set number as an indicator of when a jersey was ordered. Most flag tags in game issued MLB jerseys are marked SET 1 (the original team order). A few can be found with a SET 2 ID (later-season order). Now, a handful of flag tags marked SET 3 are popping up.

The Set 3 flag tag has been limited to early 2000’s Rawlings gamers of certain major stars, such as Alex Rodriguez and Rafael Palmiero (Texas Rangers). Rawlings manufactured uniforms for eight MLB clubs from 2000-2002. The few Set 3 flag tags found, on jerseys issued to A-Rod and Raffy, for example, seem to be limited to players who are engaged in the marketing of their own game-used memorabilia, either through their own companies or via third-party sellers. (By comparison, Barry Bonds, who also markets his own items, would NOT fall into this category as he wore Russell uniforms, as did the rest of his Giants teammates).

Certain parties within the hobby, such as dealers who have purchased quantities of jerseys from the Rangers, have questioned the authenticity of these Set 3 jerseys. Whether they are truly of this belief, or merely attempting to preserve the value and demand for their set 1 and set 2 attire of similar players, is unknown. The MEARS policy, however, is to consider such jerseys as A10 grades as long as provenance includes a written confirmation by the player that said jerseys were, indeed, game-worn.

Goodman jerseys: Some tagged, some not.

W.A. Goodman and Sons, longtime doubleknit supplier of the Dodgers and Angels in the pre-official supplier days, is all over the board in adding or omitting tags from their MLB threads. Usually, though, one can expect consistency of the presence or absence of such tags in a given combination of year and team. For example, 1974 and 1975 Dodgers knits have ’em, 1976 Dodgers duds don’t.

Yet, some examples of team/year combinations can carry a year notation as well as omitting one. These legitimate differences appear to be confined to teams Goodman supplied during years in which the teams made the postseason. Under such examples, year tags (normally paired with a set designation) will appear in uniforms made for LCS/World Series use, while the untagged counterparts are regular season garb. Two such examples are 1981 Dodgers uniforms, and also 1986 Mets wearables. Of course, the untagged, regular-season versions can be traced to a given year based on sleeve patches that appear on both regular and postseason shirts: the Los Angeles BiCentennial patch for the ’81 Dodgers, and the team 25th Anniversary logo for the ’86 Mets.

MORE MLB RECYCLING: 1968 Athletics.

The fancy-printed Oakland vests of 1968 only saw use in the regular-season in 1968, but were trotted out as Cactus League spring attire for at least three years afterwards. Evidence of this is seen on the 1972 Topps baseball card of relief pitcher Bob Locker. The background behind Locker in the card’s photo depicts an obvious spring training scene. Locker did not join the Athletics until the middle of the 1970 season, after being dealt to Oakland by the Brewers. Ergo, the spring training shot couldn’t have been taken any earlier than 1971. The 1972 preseason, from similar photographic evidence, does not show these first-year Oakland vests being used, as an obvious 1972 Arizona photo on the card of pitcher Denny McLain (a “Traded” card, as McLain spent all of 1971 with the Washington Senators), shows McLain in a 1971-style vest.

Weird things can, and do happen in the usage of uniforms. When THE SHIRT finds out about ’em, I report on ’em to you, the MEARS subscriber, to help you learn more about the fascinating world of game-used equipment collecting. Til next time, GO BEARS!!!