Hitting the books and the Internet can always be a hoot when researching a jersey, but sometimes the enhancement of such research can come at the most unlikely time and in the most unlikely place.

Back in the mid-1990s, just before the Worldwide Web became commonplace, a collector of the era…Alan Kleinberger…happened upon an interesting Yankees-type home flannel. I say “Yankees-type” because he was studious and hobby-educated enough to realize almost immediately that the interlocking NY crest on the front was slightly different, and that the supplier (McAuliffe) was not a normal uniform source for the Yanks in the year the jersey was tagged (1972). However, having exhausted his sources, he called to discuss this interesting jersey with me.

I was intrigued, as well, but wasn’t sure what I’d have on hand (I was not online at that time) that would contribute to the discussion. So, the discussion was tabled…temporarily…VERY temporarily.

As luck would have it, my wife, Shirley and I went on a VHS buying trip to the local Blockbuster, and, as crazy it sounds, one VHS cover in the bargain bin suddenly revived the discussion. The movie, a 1973 release, showed the odd-looking NY on the jersey Kleinberger had (most notable by the stick-like base of the Y, as opposed to the tapered Y the MLB Yankees use). I didn’t buy the tape, but contacted Kleinberger upon my arrival home to report my findings. He quickly accessed a copy of the movie, and, presto…mystery solved!

The jersey was not an MLB or minor league gamer…it was a movie jersey worn in Bang The Drum Slowly, depicting Robert DeNiro and Michael Moriarity as players on the fictional New York Mammoths, the team represented by the jersey. Even more intriguing was Kleinberger’s spotting the name H. TROY written inside the jersey, and the discovery upon viewing the credits that H. TROY was an actor, Hector Troy, who was one of the Mammoths players who got lower billing.

Stories like this make me enjoy and appreciate the research process more…and makes me also wonder why many collectors avoid researching rather than openly embracing it? To each their own, I guess.