MORE RECYCLING IN THE BIG TIME
Recent discoveries and other analyses not yet covered here have shown more examples of relatively common uniform recycling on the highest levels of pro sports…the Shirt gives light to four more here.
1963 KC ATHLETICS
In the searching of the Internet I do daily to find material for the MEARS database, an interesting wire photo on eBay further expanded the Kansas City/Oakland Athletics longtime practice of using jerseys from BEFORE the previous season in a given year’s spring training.
The photo that caught my attention, eBay item 140088857560, showed Kansas City A’s manager Ed Lopat posed with newly-arrived player Chuck Essegian. Lopat’s stint as KC skipper didn’t begin until mid-1962, and Essegian was traded to the A’s by Cleveland in the 1962-63 off-season (the caption mentions his 21 home runs for the Tribe in ’62). This spring training picture does NOT show the men in the 1962 vests you would expect for a 1963 Florida shot, but instead both are clad in the 1961 Wilson big A pinstriped flannels, worn two years prior, as opposed to the standard one. Previous Shirt articles have cited 1962 vests being used in 1964 spring training by the A;s, as well as 1968 Oakland vests being worn as late as 1971 in preseason.
As was often the case, Charlie Finley would look for ways to cut corners to save a buck, and extended spring training recycling of uniforms wasn’t the only way…sometimes the unies would get more than one regular season’s duty, too. Oakland vests from 1969-71 are on the lower end of scarcity and value in the flannel hierarchy, and a discernible recycling maneuver can be found on a number of 1969 A’s vests. With regular season use expanded for a number of these to 1970, three changes can be found on 1969 tops that were trotted out again in 1970:
a) removal of MLB 100th Anniversary patch from bottom left front,
b) addition of ‘s to A (creating “A’s”) for 1970, as 1969 tops had just the “A”, and
c) addition of single-toned, green NOB’s in 1970 (no NOBs were used in 1969).
2001-02 NFL JERSEYS
The new style NFL logo was first unveiled on uniforms in 2002, but, for unknown reasons, a sizable number of 2001 jerseys from most NFL teams were recycled in ’02, with the new logo being the telltale difference. The old logo is just the NFL shield, while the new logo includes a smaller version of the shield in a white field. This is most easily done on Reebok jerseys, as Reebok was the exclusive NFL uniform supplier in 2002. In 2001, Reebok made most of the NFL uniforms, with a handful of teams (San Diego, Tampa Bay, Washington being the ones I can recall off the top of my head) using Adidas.
The NFL teams, given the fact that many of them changed suppliers every 2 or 3 years in the 1990s, would once in a while cover the old supplier’s logo with the new one…such as a 1998 Colts jersey with a Logo Athletic sleeve insignia having that insignia covered for 1999 use by a Puma emblem, or a Starter-made Packers uni worn after the team’s switchover to Nike having the swoosh placed where the S used to be. Such NFL-level recycling is not uncommon, and is legitimate, as long as the succession of manufacturers makes sense…i.e., you don’t want to see a Russell logo on a Champion, Wilson or Nike Bears piece, since Russell never supplied the Bears.
Occasionally, though, the logo wars can end up with interesting conclusions, as was the case with 1985 Bears mega-celebrity William “The Refrigerator” Perry. After his glory days in Chicago, Perry played for the Eagles, and was approached by a Nike employee who suggested that the Fridge place Nike swooshes over the logo of the non-Nike shoes he wore. The chicanery was uncovered fairly quickly however, as the Fridge…apparently not a Rhodes scholar…affixed the swoosh logo to his shoes upside-down.