Tagging is considered major criteria in identifying and authenticating game used jerseys. In most cases, tagging carries consistencies based on manufacturer, year, team, etc. However, on occasion certain anomalies that, at first glance, may be thought of as odd and even wrong do, indeed, turn out to be acceptable and genuine. This edition of TSOMB focuses on four such legitimate oddities.
Beginning in 2000, Majestic began supplying seven MLB teams with game uniforms. Four of those teams, the Cubs, White Sox, Blue Jays and Brewers, had some of their 2000 stock sub-contracted to Wilson, as revealed to me in communications with clubhouse workers of more than one of those ball clubs.
A normal tenet among game-used collectors, and one adhered to by MEARS, is that the flag tag on the inside left torso seam for team-issued Majestic garb carries a “0062” code, and that the “6200” code is relegated to retail apparel. Those actually put together at Wilson, however, carry a tag with NEITHER code.
Externally, the items with such tagging that I examined in my and other collections carried at least two other identifiers for in-house 2000 Majestic garb as opposed to Majestic/Wilson versions.
First, the Majestic logo (mountain peak) is embroidered directly into the sleeve fabric on in-house Majestic unies. The ones farmed out to Wilson employ a crudely attached patch to display the logo.
Second, Majestic 2000 gamers made by Majestic use embroidery font on the strip tagging that is similar to that used on 2001-2005 Majestic tagging. Those put together at Wilson use an embroidery tagging font similar to late 1990’s Wilson strip tagging.
After Sand-Knit’s demise, Champion took over the contract to supply the entire NBA with game uniforms. Their initial season (1990-91) shows three distinctly different tagging styles, all legitimate.
First, a single-tagged (Champion manufacturer tag) style exists, with no year ID and any extra length specs, when appropriate, flag tagged inside the left torso seam.
Second, the Champion tag is joined on the outer front tail by a similarly sized white “exclusive” tag, bearing year and extra length notations. Finally, the Champion label is accompanied by exclusive and year/extra length box and strip tagging identical to those used the previous year by Sand-Knit.
When Rawlings secured the first official MLB supplier contract in 1987, tagging oddities that year, and also the following year, abound. One involves jerseys bearing both strip tags and flag tags (such as Cubs and Athletics, among others) that carry differing set numbers, i.e., a “set 1” flag tag and a set “2” strip tag.
Again, this is explainable. Set 1 flag tags, as explained to me decades ago by onetime White Sox equipment guy Mike Morris, appear on 95 percent-plus of Rawlings MLB game garb that use flag tags, as the set 1 on this tag is a chronological ID pegging the jersey as being part of the team’s original order for the year. Set 2 flag tags are for later-ordered jerseys, possibly for mid-season acquisitions or replacements for damaged or missing shirts. The strip tag, meanwhile, carries the true set number, in terms of what we as collectors have come to know them as.
What do the 1979 Angels, 1981 Dodgers, and 1986 Mets have in common?
Well, all made the postseason; with the latter two reaching the Series and the Dodger team cited winning it.
All three ordered from Goodman those years (although 1979 Wilson Angels knits exist, as well).
And, finally, all three ordered new sets of jerseys for the LCS and World Series.
How to tell the difference, you wonder? Wonder no more, as I was able many years ago to find out from a former Wrigley Field visitors’ clubhouse employee.
Former batboy and clubhouse assistant Joey Catalano was able to determine, based on hands-on experience with both groups of ’86 Mets gamers (he helped out the Mets clubhouse staff during the 1986 postseason), and subsequent analysis of the others by this writer and other game-used students, that year tagging was used on the postseason shirts of all three teams, while regular season gamers used no year tagging, a common practice for many of Goodman’s MLB issuances over the years. For examples of these tags, see the complete MEARS tagging index in the member’s section.
Oddities can and do happen, and the staff at MEARS takes great pride in researching and cataloging such fully authentic oddities in our database, giving us the chance to inform collectors and help them learn about and enjoy our fine game-used equipment hobby.
NEXT TIME: Numerology: Famous names and not-so-famous uniform numbers they once wore. See you then.