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Early Nike/MLB Prototype Jerseys Surface on eBay

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As we all know by know, Nike’s new uniforms are a total fiasco. But judging by some prototype jerseys that have just shown up on eBay, they could have been even worse — especially for the Mets.

Here’s the deal: The new template was originally supposed to roll out in 2023 but was then pushed back to 2024. Now someone on eBay has listed 18 MLB jerseys, which he’s describing as “2023 prototypes.” Many of them are No. 23, suggesting that they were indeed created in 2023, but others are No. 24, which may mean that they were produced later than the others.

The most eye-popping prototype the seller is offering is a Mets road jersey, which is loaded with bizarre details: The headspoon piping is black, instead of blue; the sun collar is black; and the sleeve trim is blue/white instead of blue/grey. Check this out:

This is so absurd, I have to believe they were just mixing and matching elements as some sort of production test. There’s no way they actually considered going with this design.

On the plus side, the sleeve patch is embroidered, not printed (the same is true of all the other No. 23 prototypes that the seller has listed):

The tagging — not just for this jersey but for all of these prototypes — includes a sticker with a QR code (I tried it — no longer active):

That Mets jersey is definitely the weirdest item that the seller is offering. (There’s also a No. 24 Mets road jersey that’s conventional, without any of the weird elements.) Close behind is a Marlins prototype rendered in a shade of blue that the team has never used:

Again, I’m inclined to think this was a mix/match situation, not something that was actually being considered by the team.

Another interesting item is this prototype Angels jersey. It’s NNOB, so maybe it was slated to be a spring training and/or BP jersey:

Some of the other prototypes seem pretty similar, or even identical, to what the teams are wearing for 2024, like this Rays home jersey and this White Sox home jersey. You can see all 18 jerseys (well, unless some of them have sold) here.

I contacted the seller to ask how he acquired these. He wrote back with the following:

I’m a high school teacher/coach. Been selling on eBay for over 20 years now. … I live in the Rio Grande Valley, in deep south Texas. You won’t believe the things you can find down here. Everything I have listed I’ve bought from flea markets or from people who source to sell at flea markets. I recently sold all my prototype NFL jerseys on here. Had some basketball ones too, and now these baseball ones.

I have a guy who sources surplus Nike products, as well as other brands. He saves all the sports products he gets and I buy everything he gets his hands on. It’s pretty neat to know that some of these products were shown to MLB people, owners, maybe some were even worn by players. Pretty cool, and rare, I think.

Interesting! The seller also has some additional MLB prototypes, which they’ll be listing soon.

(Big thanks to Steve Miller for letting me know about these eBay listings.)



One More Substack Reminder

In case you missed it, this week’s Uni Watch Premium article over on Substack is an absolutely epic interview with Tom Andrich, the longtime Nike art director who created the NFL’s Color Rush program. I don’t mind saying that this is one of the best Uni Watch interviews ever! Clocking in at over 5,000 words, it’s jam-packed with insider info about how Color Rush was developed, which teams rejected which design ideas, how Nike managed a tricky working relationship with the NFL (one particular detail of which left me dumbfounded), and more — a lot more. Tons of graphics, too. Most of this has never been published anywhere, and I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s a major contribution to the field of NFL uniform history. You do not want to miss this one!

You can read the first part of the article here. In order to read the entire thing, you’ll need to become a paid subscriber to my Substack (which will also get you access to my Substack archives). Subscribing now, even if only for one month, will also get you my annual — and final! — MLB Season Preview, which will be published in two weeks.

My thanks, as always, for your consideration.



I’ll Vouch for That

Yesterday I wrote about how the Penguins weren’t able to do their Jaromir Jagr bobblehead giveaway last night because the bobbles were stolen. Here’s one of the vouchers they gave away instead. The photo comes from reader Greg Mays, along with this story:

My oldest daughter has made it an annual tradition to ride the train from Lincoln, Nebraska, where she teaches school, to Pittsburgh for a Penguins game over spring break. Last night was this year’s game, and someone stole her bobblehead! I contacted her as soon as I read your post about it, and she sent me a photo of her voucher. I may frame it for her, or maybe she will be able to pick it up next year!

Bummer for Greg’s daughter, but interesting to see the voucher. Thanks for sharing, Greg!




Can of the Day

Oh my — v-e-r-y handsome! Feels a bit like a Heinz knockoff (see how the combination of shapes sorta/kinda evokes a keystone?), but the colors are gorgeous and I looooove the gentle vertical arching on “Grandee.”

Comments (31)

    One of my friends asked a good question: Now that the thieves have 20,000 Jagr bobbleheads, how are they going to sell them without anyone finding out?

    Yesterday I wrote about how the Penguins couldn’t able to do their Jaromir Jagr bobblehead giveaway


    Paul, What is the stitching on the bottom left corner by the Y in New York? Is it covering up a button or something else?

    Looking more closely at the sleeve patches, I’m inclined to believe that these are actually the lighter/’printed’ style patches they’ve legitimately switched to this year. The two for the Orioles are 1000% this year’s patch; the dotted pattern inside the orange of the outer circle matches what the 2024 authentics at the team store have on them (but not the replicas). The Mets one you looked at also looks to me that it’s actually the newer style, based mostly off how the blue of the skyline looks up against the white of the sky/baseball. The white bridge at the bottom of the patch also looks extra-clean, without any visible threading.

    Looks like the QR code on the Mets jersey never linked anywhere. It’s just an alphanumeric code: CM265045. The A’s jersey is 1116212.

    I think the Angels jersey was pretty sweet. Except for the logo redundancy on the sleeve.

    Angels go overboard with that. In general, there is no reason to have you cap logo anywhere on the jersey, let alone multiple places on the jersey. I’ve always appreciated the Yankees and Tigers inconsistencies for that very reason.

    Except for the fact that they have red numbers on a red jersey.
    And except for the fact that red makes me think of fallen angels… not ones with halos.
    Go back to the California Angels look.

    All the best-loved Angels’ uniforms bear more than a passing resemblance to those of the Red Sox.

    Something about used ticket stubs, amirite?

    Sad that there are not one, not two, but three different advertisers on it.

    Very unusual that this Texas man can buy all the stuff Nike wants to get rid of. I would have expected Nike to trash it in order to avoid confusion over what is genuine and what is a knock off. I am so happy that Mets jersey never saw a mass production run.

    The Rio Grande Valley is on the edge of the Mexican border. It might be a way station for stuff Nike wants out of the USA, like championship gear for teams that didn’t win the championship.

    Not a fan of the black piping, but I do really like the blue/white sleeve trim given that there’s blue over white (bridge) on the logo patch right above it

    Crazy, wrong, and experimental one-offs are some of the best sports ephemera you can find. I remember a navy t-shirt that had a test printing of the Chicago Bears sleeve trim. I wish I had bought it.

    No “kind of”. It absolutely works. I really liked that Rays jersey too.

    They need to remove the. MLB logo on the back. Now that it’s lower it’s too bunched up with name and number. Why in the heck did they lower it in the first place?

    No one has any idea why it was removed. But moving it was an awful decision. Put it back where it was. Or move it to the sleeve.

    I can’t get over how absolutely terrible it looks, and how it throws off the design of the entire jersey. This might be sacrilege on here but I find the manufacturer logo on the front to be less ugly.

    The smaller NOBs don’t bother me (Baltimore has always had them). It’s the lowering of the NOB plus the number that’s so hideous. Even NNOB jerseys like that of the Angels looks terrible.

    Pretty confident that the headspoon piping and sun collar on the Mets jersey is a really really dark grey (Anthracite?) vs black (like the jock tag).

    It does look dark gray. With the blue sleeve trim, perhaps the mismatch is to make sure everyone knows it’s a prototype.

    My hunch is that it’s what we call a “look-see” sample. Essentially a “what if?” experiment to see if this kinda tonal accent idea adds a nice visual pop or texture from a distance. Tho obviously the internal reaction was likely similar to what we’re seeing here and never saw the light of day.

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