The World Series starts this weekend. And for reader Brad Bierman, that means only one thing: a new World Series sleeve patch will make its appearance.
Not that Bierman is in any suspense regarding what the patch will look like, mind you — he’s already got one, in fact, which he’s mounted on his complete display of World Series sleeve patches. And that’s just a small portion of his patch collection.
Bierman, a former radio sportscaster who lives outside of Philly, approached me back in March at the Uni Watch Athletics Aesthetics Party, where he showed me photos from his extensive stash of jersey patches. He later sent me a bunch of other patch-centric info, most of which I haven’t yet fully followed up on (sorry, Brad — it’ll happen, I promise).
Anyway, with the baseball’s season-ending showcase about to start, here’s Bierman’s commentary on some World Series patches from the past two decades:
1987: The first year of a WS jersey patch. It was worn only by the Cardinals, not by the Twins.
1989: Always wondered how MLB managed to add the great “Battle of the Bay” slogan for the A’s/Giants Series in such a short time between the LCS and the WS.
1995: In an attempt to put something “hip” into marketing its glamour event after the 1994 strike, MLB also used an alternate WS logo, adding the
“Welcome To The Show” phrase first uttered by Crash Davis (Kevin Costner) in the 1988 movie Bull Durham.
1997: Neither the Marlins nor the Indians actually wore this patch on their jerseys. Each club had its team logo patch on the left sleeve; the Marlins had their version of the Jackie Robinson 50th-anniversary patch on their right sleeve, and the Indians’ right sleeve had the 1997 All-Star Game patch. The WS patch was worn on jackets and by the umpires.
2000: Always wondered why MLB couldn’t have added “Subway Series”
somewhere to the WS patch, as was done for the same market Bay Area series in 1989. With modern marketing the way it is, most likely the logo had already been released to so many places and could not be changed.
2005: A rare use of the MLB logo with the blue and red colors fields reversed. [Probably my favorite of all the WS patches, because the autumnal color scheme is perfect for the Fall Classic. — PL]
When I asked Bierman if he also had a full set of World Series cap patches, which have been appearing in the Series since 1996, he replied, “I do not have the cap patches — I hate the whole concept. An extra patch does not belong on such a small uniform piece.” Now that’s hardcore — zero tolerance, baby!
Bierman offered the following thoughts on patch collecting:
Acquiring patches pre-Internet meant working directly with the few dealers out there or seeing them at sports card/memorabilia shows, especially the annual National Show each summer, and a few big regional shows in the northeast (Murf Denny deserves a mention here, as I was able to get patches early on from him), or from equipment managers, especially in the pre-memorabilia craze that began to hit in the mid- to late 1980s.
Since the eBay era arrived, it has made collecting the last 8-10 years a whole new ballgame. Have met a few incredible people that share an intense “patch passion” and knowledge. This includes Richard Feltoon in New Jersey — found him through a Miami Dolphins fan web site looking for their 30th-anniversary patch of the undefeated 1972 team, worn in a Monday Night game in 2002. Great guy (who also happens to be the official online/retail outlet for all Gumby-related products).
I have six large boards with all the MLB team commemoratives (minus most memorial patches), and two boards for the NFL teams. I have a smaller NHL board (Flyers and some league-wide patches), four major college bowl game national championship patch years, the first two new NCAA basketball Final Four patches started in 2005, and a few NBA anniversary patches and NBA Finals. A great patch I won on eBay this summer came from another nice guy I got to know through eBay in California (unfortunately, he had to sell part of his collection to raise funds): an original 1973 Yankee Stadium 50th-anniversary patch, (as seen on an SI cover that summer).
Big thanks to Brad for sharing his collection and his expertise. Now let’s hope the Mets are the other team that’ll be wearing that 2006 World Series patch this Saturday.
Mea Culpa Dept.: Yesterday’s entry about the logo implications of the new NBA ball had two omissions: (1) My list of teams with ball-inclusive logo designs should have included the Kings; and (2) I inexcusably neglected to mention that the guy who brought this issue to my attention in the first place was reader Alex Gordon. He’s also done some interesting historical research regarding older NBA logos and balls, which I’ll present as a follow-up item either tomorrow or next week.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Speaking of patches, was that a nicotine patch that Endy Chavez was sporting last night, or did he just cut himself shaving? … “Logo creep or creepy logos?” That’s what Rob Schmoll wants to know after seeing this story about a new plan to make MLB logos available for placement on caskets and urns. … Kudos to Wade Harder, who’s come up with a really unique example of a football helmet with a logo on one side and a number on the other: “For the 1987 football season, Vanderbilt wore the split scheme with the school’s logo on the right side of the helmet and number 73 on the left side, a tribute to the death of teammate Paul Lomanto. I remember this because my family actually had Vanderbilt season tickets at the time.” … Eric Glickman has noticed that the logos of the last six teams to defeat the Yankees in the postseason spell out how the Bombers have fared in October since winning it all in 2000. … The Rockies will be switching to CoolFlo helmets next season — further details in the “On the Rox” section toward the bottom of this page. … Thomas Harding, who broke that Rockies news for MLB.com, also sent along this photo, which shows Bobby Layne with his crotch extension exposed. Wait, make that his jersey’s crotch extension. … Bryan Redemske notes that Carlos Delgado wears a really tiny glove for infield practice. … Horn-Toot Dept.: Yesterday’s Bill Buckner column on ESPN was a big hit.