THE SCORE WITH SCORE BOARD
When individuals knowingly put bogus jerseys, bats, etc. on the market, the hobby is harmed based on greed and lack of ethics. Unfortunately, the game-used equipment pastime can also be damaged by similarly non-genuine (by game-used standards) items end up in the marketplace due to naiveté, ignorance, or less ethically challenged motives.
With the latter in mind, let us examine 1989-90 Score Board game-style jerseys.
Score Board was a major memorabilia company existing in the 1980s and 1990s that specialized in, among other things, genuine autographed memorabilia. Not content to stick with mainstream items of the day, like signed baseballs and 8×10 photos, Score Board went into marketing high quality autographed display items. Among those ADIs (autographed display items) were game-style jerseys of various stars and retired greats of the 1989-90 era.
On the surface, that may not seem so bad. The problem that came about, unfortunately, was twofold. Score Board, in an effort to strive for top-of-the-line quality, went for players and teams made by then-official MLB uniform supplier Rawlings, and went so far as to have Rawlings add pro-style tagging to the jerseys.
Given the era, when most collectors equated the presence of tags with game usage, game-used hobby leaders of the time were outraged, predicting that these ADI’s, even though they were accurately described and marketed by Score Board, would suddenly morph into “game-used” jerseys once they began traveling around the secondary market.
Sad to say, those concerns are still reality, over 15 years later. Ebay listings and even major auction houses have carried these non-team-issued ADIs in their offerings, misdescribed as being “game-used”. One auction house recently had three of them in the same auction, ALL “authenticated” as game-used by a third party authenticator (one not affiliated with MEARS and without direct contact information to deal with rebuttals).
Over time, these suspect pieces have been compared with exemplars from the same teams and years, and, while not complete, the rest of this article will cover how to spot these Score Board ADI jerseys, the likes of which only had contact with the player when said player autographed them, and never were worn nor issued for the purpose of game wear.
INVARIABLES AND TRENDS
There are certain characteristics of Score Board jerseys that are applicable to the entire genre, or nearly so:
1) Rawlings manufacture…all Score Board jerseys are made by Rawlings. None exist for teams/styles made by Wilson or Goodman in 1989-90.
2) Home whites…all Score Board offerings are the standard home white styles of the era for the team. None are road, alternate, or retro styles.
3) Rawlings tagging…all examples of the genre carry a 1990-91 style Rawlings tag. That design is a large white rectangular tag similar to the 1988-89 design, but with only three lines of text in the laundry instructions as opposed to five. While the 1990-91 design has appeared in very rare instances of 1989 Rawlings game jerseys, such instances are shot-in-the-dark rare and scattershot in nature. The 1989 Score Board productions are ALL labeled in this manner, and, of course, are all name players. If it’s year tagged 1989, and has the ’90-’91 Rawlings tag, and it’s a superstar of the era, chances are strong it’s from this genre.
4) Autographs…with one exception to be detailed later, all such Score Board items were signed by the player. Any such items without an autograph, aside from the one exception to be detailed later, displaying the first three characteristics would likely indicate that someone laundered out the signature in an attempt to throw off collectors aware of this characteristic.
These are known Score Board issues, with year, player name, and means of spotting the Score Board versions apart from those listed above, as the Score Board jerseys have variances in strip and/or flag tagging that are not normal for the given team/year pairing they represent, and which are the same on ALL Score Board jerseys.
BO JACKSON: Beware 1989 set 2 flag tagged jerseys as well as 1989 examples that do NOT carry he box tag featuring an embroidered “T” (Rawlings’ designation for body tapering).
JOSE CANSECO: Look out for 1990 jerseys with no flag tag and a strip tag that reads “2 90”.
KEN GRIFFEY JR.: 1989 Mariner jerseys with a GRIFFEY JR NOB plate are to be avoided. Even when playing alongside his father, Junior never wore a game jersey with anything other than GRIFFEY as the NOB.
NOLAN RYAN: Score Board Ryan jerseys are actually MORE detailed in strip tagging than the ones the Rangers actually used. Avoid any 1989 Rawlings Ryan with a strip tag of “34 1 1989”.
DARRYL STRAWBERRY: Rawlings 1990 Mets, like ’89 Rangers, were less detailed in game-used life than in Score Board’s hobby reality… the telltale strip tag reads “90 1 18”.
GREGG JEFFERIES: While produced, Score Board never had these autographed (the only exception), and extant examples in the hobby were sold, clearly, as replicas by a jersey dealer in the early 1990s, with wishful and/or deceitful thinkers on the secondary market again trying to pass them off as game used. The location of the “9” box tag is the key in spotting these (see photo).
MIKE SCHMIDT: The slugger who retired during the 1989 season wore home jerseys with a NIC (name in collar) tag. The Score Board versions don’t have this.
WILL CLARK and WILLIE MAYS: The vast majority of game-worn 1989 Giants jerseys made it into the hobby courtesy of the late Dick Dobbins, a Bay Area hobby legend who brokered Giants wearables into circulation for close to 20 years. Such examples should come with either a team stamp in the tail, a team logo-emblazoned LOA, or both. The Score Board versions use a strip tag with the player’s uniform number (22 and 24, respectively) and a four digit year (1989), as opposed to the normal Giants standard of a 2-diogit year (89),
I am also trying to confirm and identify information regarding a 1990 Rangers Nolan Ryan Score Board edition. Any additions regarding this or others I may have missed would be appreciated, and can be emailed to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on the MEARS online bulletin board.
NEXT TIME: THE NBA version of Score Board jerseys. See you then.