Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Jersey Quest

My quest began quite innocently and with good intentions but isn’t there some saying about the road to hell beginning with good intentions or something like that?  I’ve always been a big sports fan and wearing jerseys has always been my way to express that.  Besides that I like the cut of most sports jerseys.  I happen to think they look good on me.

My dad took me to my first A’s game when I was 4 years old.  The first player I ever identified with was A’s right fielder Reggie Jackson.  He threw and batted left-handed just like me.  We were practically twins!  Reggie has been my hero ever since and I always wanted a Reggie jersey but whenever I saw a nice Reggie jersey in a sports apparel store they always ran upwards of $100 so forget it.

A few months ago on a whim I checked eBay for some Reggie jerseys and I happened to find one that was on auction for just $20.  I bid on it and eventually won it for 30.  I had no idea I could get good quality jerseys that cheap.  A new obsession was born.

Through eBay I was able to acquire quite a few more at some very reasonable prices.  I won Latin legend and only instant Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente’s Pittsburgh Pirates jersey.  Former National League MVP Albert Pujols.  Former Yankees slugger Hideki Matsui (I love the guy because his nickname is “Godzilla”, another childhood obsession of mine.  He actually had a cameo in a recent Godzilla movie.  How cool is that?)  Boston Red Sox pitched Daisuke Matsuzaka (who helped my fantasy baseball team tremendously one year).  Two more A’s jerseys, one black and one green (with Barry Zito’s number on it.  Don’t make fun.  He was good when he played for the A’s).  A road red Houston Rockets Yao Ming (Chinese guy, gotta represent).  And a home blue Tennessee Titans Vince Young (can’t say I’m too proud of that one in hindsight).

Probably my best jersey conquest was finding the jersey of my all time favorite football player Ronnie Lott.  I won the jersey for $5.  Five bucks!  I’m not kidding.  It’s not perfect though.  It’s not a 49ers jersey.  It’s a Raiders jersey but for five bucks who cares?  It was heavy and everything was stitched.  I couldn’t believe my good fortune.

All these acquisitions have turned me into a bit of a jersey connoisseur, a snob if you will.  Nowadays all my jerseys must be an exact replica of the players’ actual on-field garment.  The logos, names, and numbers must be stitched on, not silk screened.  And I have come to know knockoffs when I see them.

For example, New York Yankees jerseys should never have player names on the back, the Cardinals and A’s home white jerseys should have the player numbers on the front and back, and the baseball Giants should only have the player names on the back of their road greys and not on the home cream jerseys nor their Friday night orange jerseys.

This is not to say every jersey has been a triumph.  I won a home white Seattle Mariners Ichiro Suzuki that was way too small, an orange Baltimore Orioles Brooks Robinson (the greatest third baseman of all time) that was too small as well.  They went to my godson in Texas.  My Albert Pujols jersey was inaccurate as the was no “5” on the front.  My Warriors Stephen Curry has a blemish on the front.

I’ve also discovered that cheap jerseys can be had from the far east.  I’m talking Singapore, the Philippines, and China.  But that’s another story.  More about that on my next post.

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