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What Do We Think of Jersey Trading Cards?

I’ve been writing about uniforms for nearly 20 years now, and there’s a fairly big elephant in the room that I’ve never written about or probably even mentioned: jersey trading cards, which are the cards that come with a little swatch of a game-used jersey, like the Alfonso Soriano card shown above.

I don’t collect either sports cards or game-used gear, which I guess is why I’ve never written about this topic, but my interest was kindled when reader Aaron Roggensack recently sent me a video showing the process of an NBA jersey being cut into swatches for a series of cards. The video is from 2013, but I’d never seen it before, and it’s pretty fascinating. It’s eight minutes long but worth checking out (and the only sound is a music loop, so you can mute it without missing anything):

I find myself conflicted about this, on multiple levels. For example: On the one hand, I love seeing how things are made, so the video is really interesting in that regard. On the other hand, it’s a bit upsetting to see a jersey being cut into little pieces like that!

Also: I suppose the jersey cards are a good budget-priced option for people who want a piece of game-used memorabilia but can’t afford a full jersey (although I can’t imagine what sort of rush anyone gets from a tiny game-used swatch). On the other hand, turning the swatches into cards seems like an cynical way to take one category of collector-fetishized items and turn it into another category of collector-fetishized items. Hmmmmm.

According to this article, the game-used jersey card was pioneered by Upper Deck in 1997. The article includes this passage:

This was an historic moment for the [card collecting] hobby. Suddenly the value of these little paper rectangles wasn’t quite so abstract because there is something with inherent value embedded right into the card. Suddenly you weren’t holding a glorified picture of a player – you were holding a piece of his actual game-used uniform.

That’s amusing, because of course a little swatch of fabric has no more (or less) “inherent value” than a trading card. It’s just a matter of what people choose to fetishize.

I asked my Twitter followers about game-used jersey cards and got lots of responses. The best one came from Jeremy Duff, who had a lot to say. Here’s an edited version of the very informative note he sent my way:

Upper Deck was the first major licensed company to issue trading cards with jersey pieces in them. They did this with their 1996 UD Game Jersey set. The company Press Pass also issued non-licensed jersey cards in 1996.  Originally, the Upper Deck cards were incredibly valuable.  Now, they’ve become so common that they are not very valuable, even for superstars.  That being said, people still enjoy finding them in packs more than just your everyday common cards.

The main thing now is the RPA, or Rookie Patch Autograph, which features a player’s official rookie card, with a jersey patch (usually multi-colored and from a letter or stitched part of the jersey) and an autograph.  Those can be incredibly valuable, but the value is driven mostly by the rookie card and autograph dynamic. 

Originally, these were guaranteed authentic game-worn jersey pieces.  And many still are, but the card companies discovered there was a huge demand for rookies who might not have ever played an official MLB, NBA, NFL, or NHL game.  So, they started inviting drafted players to “premier” events, where they would have them wear a jersey, maybe throw a ball around for a minute, and then take it off, put on another one, and start all over.  They would cut up these jerseys and call the subsequent product “event-worn jersey cards.” They’d include them in products at the same odds as game-worn jersey cards.

Today, they also can obtain game-worn jerseys from college games, and they put these into cards, too.

They’ve also done much more than jerseys.  Here is a list of stuff that’s ended up in cards just off the top of my head: pants, gloves, shoes, bats, helmets, hats, laces, buttons, dirt, ball pieces, base pieces, field grass, batting gloves, stadium seats, eye black stickers, warm-ups, T-shirts, and more. [Indeed, they’re even going to cut up the tablecloth from Manny Machado’s introductory Padres presser last week. — PL]

Where the material comes from can also demand a premium.  For example, if the fabric includes part of a laundry tag, button, laces, patch, NOB letter, maker’s mark, or league logo, that’s are considered more valuable than a plain white/grey jersey piece.

The jersey swatches can be big, small, or there can be multiple pieces on one card.  They now make booklet cards, where you can get sometimes 10-20 different jersey pieces and/or autographs on one card.

The card companies have also begun making manufactured pieces that look like jersey pieces, but they just make them in-house.  These are not very valuable, but sometimes they can be autographed, which increases the value.  I have an autographed one from Yale Lary that has a manufactured Texas A&M Logo on a white “jersey” — a pretty cool-looking card.

Another thing to add is that these have gone beyond the area of sports.  Several card companies now make cards that include swatches from the costumes worn by actors in movies and TV shows. I have several from the Marvel film and television franchises.

Wow — that’s a lot of info!

I was also curious about how these cards affect the auction houses that sell game-used jerseys. So I asked Grey Flannel Auctions honcho Michael Russek if he hated the cards because they took a lot of jerseys off the market. His response: “Yes and no. The card companies have been very aggressive over the years buying jerseys from us, so I appreciate the business. But when they cut up a historically significant flannel, a little piece of me dies inside.”

Of course, card manufacturers aren’t the only ones cutting up game-used jerseys. Our friends at Tokens & Icons, for example, offer those wallets with jersey fabric lining. Is that any different than the cards? At the very least I figure it’s more creative.

Do any Uni Watch readers collect these cards? Does anyone have strong feelings about them? Feel free to give your thoughts in today’s comments.

(My thanks to Aaron Roggensack for bringing up this topic, to Jeremy Duff for all the great info he provided, and to Ryan Cracknell, Matt Edwards, John LaFreniere, @atopgreeneshill, and @cfssports for providing historical background and related info.)

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Good, not stupid: Phil had this in yesterday’s Ticker, but I think it deserves a bigger showcase: The Single-A Carolina Mudcats, who are a Brewers affiliate, announced over the weekend that they’re going to play four games this season as the Carolina Micro Brews.

Minor league food-based renamings have become so rote that it’s easy to miss how good this one is. First of all, “Micro Brews” is a great, great name for a Brewers farm team. Secondly, the team is using an excellent “MB” cap logo that does double duty, symbolizing “Micro Brews” and “Milwaukee Brewers” (click to enlarge):

Obviously, the Brewers’ ball-in-glove logo is still the best “mb” mark the team has ever had. But they could do a lot worse than to adopt this mark as an alternate. Kudos all around.

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Too good for the Ticker: Cubs catcher Willson Contreras spells his first name with two “els,” so the folks at his glove supplier, Wilson, modified their maker’s mark for him. Isn’t that nice?

Now we just have to find a player whose name is Rawllings.

(My thanks to @UncleBuckJake and Henry Nelson for spotting this one.)

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ITEM! Important membership update: I got a note the other day from reader/member Andy Riley (whose membership card, shown at right, is based on the jersey Charlie George wore for Arsenal during the 1971 FA Cup Final), as follows:

I thought long and hard about what I wanted on the back of my card. Scrolling through the membership card gallery made me wonder about other people’s choices and inspirations, especially for the cards based on jersey designs that I couldn’t easily identify.

I think it would be really interesting, and a good way to strengthen the Uni Watch community, if card-carrying members added a short blurb/narrative about how they chose their card motifs. I bet a lot of interesting stories would emerge. And since all the card designs are hosted on Flickr, it’s easy to add an explanatory comment to your card’s page for everyone else to see, as I’ve now done on my card’s page.

As longtime readers may recall, a lot of members did exactly what Andy’s describing back in the membership program’s early days. People posted comments, asked each other questions, and created a nice community discussion. But at some point people stopped doing that.

I’d love to rekindle it. If you’re a card-carrying member, here’s how you can participate in this:

1. If you’re not already a Flickr member, go to Flickr and sign up. It’s free.

2. Go to my Flickr stream.

3. To find your membership card, click on the search button shown here and then search on your surname (Smith, or Lukas, or whatever):

The search results should include a thumbnail image of your membership card. Click on that and it will take you to your card’s page. I recommend bookmarking the page so you can go back to it whenever you like without searching for it.

4. Go ahead and post a comment on your card’s page, explaining the story behind your card’s design.

5. You can also comment on other people’s cards by scrolling through the membership card gallery (please, no abusive or nasty comments), and you can go back to your card’s page to see if anyone has commented on it or posted a question for you to answer.

(If you’re a card-carrying member and can’t locate your card via the method I’ve just described, contact me.)

I’d love for card-carrying members to re-establish a robust discussion within the online gallery. Go for it, people!

If you don’t already have a membership card, ordering one is a good way to support Uni Watch (which, quite frankly, could use your support these days). And remember, a Uni Watch membership card entitles you to a 15% discount on any of the merchandise in our Teespring shop and our Naming Wrongs shop. (If you’re an existing member and would like to have the discount code, email me.) As always, you can sign up for your own custom-designed card here, you can see all the cards we’ve designed so far here, and you can see how we produce the cards here.

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Uniforms in the wild: The Tugboat Captain and I, joined by our friend Carrie, visited our favorite and most out-of-the-way Brooklyn watering hole on Saturday. While we were there, we made friends with a retired New York sanitation worker named Tim McAuliffe (yes, just like the sporting goods company with the classic number font). He was on his way to a trash workers’ reunion, so he wore his original green-and-orange sweatshirt and matching vest that had been issued to him in 1987. “And they still fit!” he proudly noted.

Tim was a hoot. Over the course of several beers, he told us stories about the Mafia, finding valuable items in the trash, tossing a rolled-up rug into his truck without realizing there was a dead body inside of it, the Mafia, work slowdowns (“a slow day of trash pickup can bring the entire city to a standstill!”), the Mafia, some of the crazy characters he worked with, and the Mafia.

Tim also tipped us off to an old-school Italian restaurant that we didn’t know about. We considered heading straight there, but we already had our hearts set on going to the venerable Brenn and Carr, Brooklyn’s oldest roast beefery, so we put the Italian place down on our list of places to check out later and headed to B&C for roast beef sandwiches.

We also ordered some onion rings, one of which looked like no onion ring I’d ever seen before (click to enlarge):

Check that out — a circle-slash onion ring! It seemed like a sign, but of what? Empty set? No onions? No fries?

I set it aside, stopped the waiter when he was about to clear it from the table, and took it home. Now what do I do with it? Should I sell it on eBay, like the people who sell things that look like Jesus? Hmmmmm.

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Wafflebored jersey reminder: We’re currently auctioning off the very excellent Uni Watch hockey jersey shown above, which was made by the one and only Wafflebored. Full details here.

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The Ticker
By Jamie Rathjen

Baseball News: Several Pirates players are wearing “Freedom for Venezuela” T-shirts, led by the team’s Venezuelan catcher Francisco Cervelli, to bring awareness to the country’s ongoing political crisis (from Mike Chamernik). … Red-on-red matchups yesterday included Ball State/Alabama, Nationals/Cardinals, and Angels/Reds (all from multiple readers). … Reds minor-league P Jimmy Herget appeared yesterday wearing stirrups, something he also did last year (from Lee Ursich). … Reader William F. Yurasko recently compiled some Senators/Nationals spring training videos. … The Braves, who according to MLB commissioner Rob Manfred “have taken steps to take out the tomahawk chop,” have now released a T-shirt that encourages the chop (from multiple readers). … The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, which has been closed for renovations, will be reopening this spring (from Jack Wade). … Rays P Jose De Leon has a new glove rendered in team colors. It was designed by his cousin (from John McMunn).

Football News: The Naming Wrongs “I Still Call It Joe Robbie” shirt was spotted in the wild on TV host Adam Richman, who was doing a live episode of Man vs. Food from Miami (from David Wiechmann).

Hockey News: The Canucks released their 50th-season logo (from Wade Heidt). … New Stars winger Mats Zuccarello was traded from the Rangers but still wore a blue undershirt yesterday (from multiple readers). … The OHL’s Saginaw Spirit and Oshawa Generals both wore red jerseys and dark blue pants for warmups yesterday, but as the away team Saginaw wore white during the game (from Tim Constantin). … The Tkachuk brothers — Flames winger Matthew and Senators winger Brady — played against each other yesterday in Ottawa, and their family and friends all wore what can best be described as mashup jerseys that are not quite Frankenjerseys (from @Pappy_Hour). … The Coyotes retired No. 19 for Shane Doan and both they and the Jets wore warmup jerseys honoring him. Doan was the last active player to play for the first incarnation of the Jets.

Basketball News: Eight Ole Miss players knelt during the national anthem before Saturday’s game against Georgia, which was played as pro-Confederate groups marched at the university. … Louisville wore red at home Saturday, meaning Virginia wore white on the road twice in a row and for the fourth time this season. … Michigan/Michigan State was color-vs.-color (from Josh Hinton). … Lehigh retired No. 3 for Trail Blazers SG C.J. McCollum (froom Mike Chamernik). … Reader Gabe Cornwall tells us that NC State’s women are on their second set of pink-accented uniforms in a week, because they wore white on Monday and black yesterday, the latter against North Carolina in pink with Carolina blue accents (also from James Gilbert). … Other women’s teams that wore pink or pink accents included Virginia, Miami (Fla.), and Florida State. … Iowa’s Girls High School Athletic Union — Iowa appears to be the only state that has gender-separated governing bodies for high school sports — has a logo for the 100th state tournament (from Jay Wright). … Adidas’s “Harlem Renaissance” uniform program hs now spread to Louisville’s women’s team (from Josh Claywell).

Soccer News: NBC promoted yesterday’s Manchester United/Liverpool game with each team’s Pantone shades of red (from Chris Chmura). … Scottish team Hibernian wore their highlighter-colored third kit against Dundee, and goalie Ofir Marciano was allowed to wear a pretty similar lime green outfit, even though goalies are supposed to contrast with everyone else on the field. … The stadium in the Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela was recently renamed for the still-active Utah Royals striker Verónica Boquete, a native of the city and the all-time leading scorer for Spain’s women. … Nike-outfitted goalkeepers are using gloves that are actually banned by UEFA (from Josh Hinton).

Grab Bag: This weekend’s AFLX competition, a shortened and gimmicked-up version of Australian rules football similar in game length to rugby sevens, featured one player on each team as the “game-changer,” a role that came with a kit that was essentially a brightly colored ad for a certain sports drink, with no team identification (except perhaps the color), number, or NOB. … Spike Lee wore golden Nikes at last night’s Academy Awards (thanks, Brinke).

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I’ll be attending tonight’s Devils/Canadiens game in New Jersey. My first NHL game in three years. Among other things, I’m looking forward to meeting Devils P.A. announcer Kevin Clark, who’s a longtime Uni Watch reader. See you tonight, Kevin! — Paul

Comments (59)

    the MicroBrews situation reminds me of the Colt .45s having a minor league affiliate named the .22s

    I believe the Colts also had a Bullets farm team, and the Seattle Pilots had a Co-Pilots farm team. I strongly dislike when farm teams adopt the parent club’s actual name, but I love when farm teams creatively riff on the parent club nickname, or when an MLB club aligns with an aptly named MiLB team. Like when the Nats had both the Harrisburg Senators and the Savannah Sand Gnats in their system. Or like the Cardinals and the Redbirds.

    I prefer inherently local names (eg. Albuquerque Dukes, Tulsa Oilers) best, but light-hearted riffs on the big-league team are fine too as in the Redbirds

    of course the proliferation of minor league teams using straight-up big league names was somewhat mitigated by the hilarious but off-color prospect of the Kissimmee Astros

    DenverGregg, I think you may be mispronouncing the name of that town. It’s “kis-IM-ee”, which unfortunately makes it a lot less funny.

    The Senators and Sand Gnats were just happy coincidences, as both were Expos’ affiliates, pre-dating the move to DC.

    Farm teams riff on parent club’s name.

    Happens currently in AHL:

    -Laval Rocket / Montreal Canadiens
    -Stockton Heat / Calgary Flames

    Happens currently in the D League (yep – not calling it G League)

    -Delaware Blue Coats / Philadelphia 76ers
    -Grand Rapids Drive / Detroit Pistons
    -Wisconsin Herd / Milwaukee Bucks

    Wow the opening to that video took me back to being an 8 year old excited to watch a Charlie Brown special. Love it: link

    About the OHL ticker item. Saginaw Spirit and Oshawa Generals both wear navy blue pants. Neither team wears black pants. OHL teams often have specific warm up jerseys and then pull on their regular jerseys for game time.

    My wife (proud mama of a freshman HS catcher and serious Cubs fan) spotted the interesting wrist wrap/guard that is laced in to the palm of Willson Contreras’ glove. Never seen that before. Alas, the Internet has the answer:
    For a seamhead and longtime youth baseball coach like me, never knew those existed. Faaaascinating(TM).

    It will be far easier to search for your membership card if you use the search function just above the Conrad card. That only searches in your account instead of all of Flickr. Mine popped right up when I did this.

    Is there a difference between the jersey card and the jersey wallet? No. In each case, the cut-up jersey remnant is used to add perceived value to a product for which the jersey piece has no inherent functional value. Does your wallet need a liner? No. But a liner is a nice luxury, so is a jersey remnant in any way more functionally useful than any other fabric? Obviously not, or else wallets could commonly be made with polyester linings of equialent fabric weight to baseball jerseys. They are not.

    My personal objections to the jersey card phenomenon are twofold: 1) They’re not very good cards. Aesthetically, they feel wrong, they don’t look good, and they don’t serve any of the purposes that I want from a baseball card. Their proliferation makes me glad that I was a baseball-card-collecting child before these garbage cards started showing up. The early chrome cards were bad enough in the last season or two before I stopped with baseball cards. and 2) The add too much noise to eBay searches. I have standing searches with alerts for a couple of obscure jerseys I’ve been chasing for years, and the vast majority of results are for these g**damned baseball cards.

    But neither objection is defensible on the grounds of any universally or objectively applicable principle, so my bottom line position is that while they annoy me, I don’t really have a problem with their existence or with the collectors who appreciate them.


    Especially on the Ebay searches. mine problem would be mainly with hockey cards proliferating many categories where they don’t belong. All cards belong “boxed in” the categories made for them.

    2) The add too much noise to eBay searches

    Oh, yes, definitely! When I’m searching for “game used jersey”, I want a jersey, not a card. Even including “-card” in the search doesn’t do much, because people advertise their cards with descriptions that only say “jersey”.

    I don’t collect jersey swatch cards; they started in the card hobby after I had left it behind, and I still no longer collect modern cards after 1983. I’ve always thought it “wrong” in some aspects of cutting apart a complete game used jersey, especially a Ruth or Gehrig (that is a part of baseball history that can never be reclaimed) jersey, bat, etc. just to give more a “chance” to own a piece of history. Also, fake jersey cards are rampant which has greatly put a damper on collecting said cards. Great SCD article here: link, and here: link

    “The Braves, who according to MLB commissioner Rob Manfred “have taken steps to take out the tomahawk chop,” have now released a T-shirt that encourages the chop (from multiple readers).”

    While I agree that this shirt is ugly and offensive, it is not new. I’m pretty sure Nike starting making those around 2012. At least that’s around the time I starting noticing them at the games.

    Was hoping someone would say this. I remember seeing a lot of guys in college wearing these and I graduated in 2013.

    Odd/Lazy that they cut up a green Maravich jersey, but used a photo of Maravich wearing a white jersey on the card itself.

    Topps uses a holographic sticker on some cards, detailing the players notabilty in that game.

    They say Larry Bird was one of the great trash talkers, but it sounds like he ain’t got nuthin on ol’ Tim McAuliffe.

    As much as Tim McAuliffe likes to talk about the Mafia, his t-shirt should have read “I Sing Like A Canary”.

    (Couldn’t decide which one I liked better.)

    from someone that collects whole Tennessee Titans game jerseys, I’m not a fan of the game used cards at all. Theoretically, real game worn jerseys are being cut up that I or another hard-core collector might have purchased, Somespme of which are probably from significant milestones. Not to mention cutting up pieces of history (i.e. Mickey Mantle, Michael Jordan, Jim Brown etc) to put thumbnail sized swatches in cards.

    Additionally, there have been numerous occasions where card companies have been busted for putting retail jerseys or God knows what else in cards and passing them off as game used or player worn. They now use “player worn” a lot more which really expands what they can put on a card.

    I’m not sure the extent of this, but I know the card companies will provide a uniform for a player, generally rookies, then take a few photos, then cut the uniform up. This way it’s actually “worn by player” but never actually seeing game action. I wasn’t aware there was too much game jersey cutting until this entry. I’d much prefer them to do the photo shoot jerseys, naturally, but the card collecting doesn’t interest me whatsoever.

    Iowa does indeed have separate associations for boys and girls high school athletics. Girls union started waaaayyy before Title IX, so girls have had their own athletic union for a long time! It has been great for girls in Iowa as the IGHSAU has been big advocates for girls athletics and really promote the Iowa Girl! The old six-six girls basketball tournaments were a huge deal in Iowa. Also, if you look up the uniforms worn in years gone by by the Iowa girl, there are some beauties!!!

    I don’t collect cards, but my father in law does, so I’ve seen these and I’ve seen ones with pieces of bats, and maybe some with ball leather. I honestly don’t know how to feel, it’s kind of cool, but at the same time feels like a contrived way for the collecting card makers to try and increase the value of the cards. I think the industry is really odd, at some point (maybe the 90’s?) cards turned from something kids would collect to something I think grown-up collectors do, and I think the value in the old cards was that the cards became rare because not many people kept them. This mass production and gimmicks like jersey cards just seem a way to prop up a fading hobby.

    Thanks for the attempt at renewing membership card stories! I logged mine when my card was fresh (wow, 7 years ago!?) and I loved reading other stories. Might make for a fun “card of the day” type thing, if that turns into a recurring feature for the blog.
    My card and story is here

    Mine, from 10(!) years ago:

    FYI, the Jacksonville Sharks just won the 2018 AFA Championship, by defeating the Minnesota Huskies 34-33, in probably the greatest comeback in NAFL/AFA history. Minnesota led 27-0 mid-way through the second quarter.


    In your entry regarding Mr. McAuliffe’s suggestion, you mention that you “put the Italian place down on our list of places to check out later”, I was wondering if you have an actual method/process for your list, or if it’s merely more of a ‘mental note’ thing.

    I hear about or pass places all the time that I think “I should check that place out”, but always forget. I’ve tried notebooks, noting them on my phone, others, nothing seems to really stick.
    Just wondering if you have a method that I could swipe.


    Literally a list, which I keep on a Word document. Simple!

    The Tugboat Captain takes it a step further and logs all of the list items onto a Google map.

    I may try Google docs, altho I have been messing around with Yelp bookmarks too.
    One thing I do do is before I vist a city on vacation, I note all the dive bars in the city, and lots of what I deem to be notable restaurants. Maybe I should just do that with San Francisco.


    Regarding the game-worn jersey issue, I have a question for anybody who might know: who actually owns the jersey immediately after it is no longer being used for games?

    In other words, I assumed the uniforms during the season remain property of the team. But since the custom of individual players swapping jerseys immediately after games has popped up, I am wondering if players are charged by the team to replace that jersey, and if at the end of each season the players are given their old jerseys to keep or if they have to purchase them, etc?

    Thanks. Do you know if after the season is over, are players given their jerseys by the teams or are they given an option to purchase them?

    Are they charged the wholesale price, or the insane marked-up store price? Hopefully the former.

    I do collect cards. I don’t really have a specific focus (in fact I will collect a card simply for its design sometimes regardless of he player on it. I do collect cards from my favorite teams. While I am disturbed the would cut up a truly historic jersey, there is something amazing about having a piece of Crabtree’s jersey that he wore in a game at Texas Tech. No interest in spending 100s of $$ on whole jerseys plus then the display is another issue. Cards are easy. I like football players in their college uni over pro, but when I find a pro jersey card in the dollar bin, I still pick it up. Same to be said with any player I like or superstar, I will pick up a game worn for a buck an time.

    I also have an Ozzie Smith game used bat card and a few other early ones that are just cool. Even a piece of NASCAR tire maybe – some just for the novelty of it.

    I do collect the cards from time-to-time, and I prefer the auto cards. If it contains a swatch of material, that’s a nice plus, but not necessary. I do have a Yogi Berra uni-swatch card (sans auto) that I really like. However, the secondary market has gone off the rails. I can’t remember the player (I wanna say it was Eddie Murray), but a couple years ago I saw a card with a piece of his bat going for around $200 on eBay. Being curious, I looked up what an actual game used bat was going for and it was a few dollars cheaper. Which is ridiculous to me.

    I teach at an elementary school. Mostly I give out cards from the “junk wax” era of the late 1980s and early 1990s as rewards. However I do look for jersey cards on eBay that are cheap. I give those out at special times. The kids love them and feel a deep connection with the player.

    “But when they cut up a historically significant flannel, a little piece of me dies inside.”

    Watching them slice-and-dice that jersey was like watching a bad horror flick! Fascinating video, but it’s still painful to watch.

    I have both older cards and game worn jerseys. I have no desire to own cards with pieces of jersey. And to see older jerseys chopped up for this is sad. It doesn’t bother me as much with newer jerseys, since there are so many issued/worn, but older items that are rarer I would prefer to see preserved.

    I feel the same way when I watch a movie and a classic car is destroyed. Another piece of “history” gone forever.

    I have been both a collector of sports cards and a collector of game-worn (or in my case race-worn) uniforms. There’s a limited appeal of finding a random insert in a pack of cards, but I also don’t go out of my way to acquire game-used relic cards.

    I am an avid collector of NASCAR pit shirts and jackets and also have a couple door and roof panels from some cars. I wear the pit shirts at work pretty regularly (I no longer wear them to races – a 36 year old man playing dress-up around guys who actually are pit crew seems silly), and when I owned a house, displayed as many shirts and panels as I could fit into my den.

    The thing is, NASCAR items like these are INCREDIBLY easy to acquire and extremely inexpensive compared to other sports jerseys. Only a couple times have I paid more than $100 for a pit shirt (and those were for some rare one) and typically am getting them as gifts or paying $30 or less. Even a race-worn drivers suit from Carl Edwards cost me less than what I’d pay for a replica Mitchell and Ness baseball jersey and certainly less than a jersey from any “stick and ball” athlete of equal caliber and renown.

    If I were a die-hard collector of other sports, I’d probably settle for these cards, as the prices of game memorabilia are utterly absurd and out of reach for the working class. I completely understand why someone would want a card like this as a personal connection to their favorite ball player, even if I do cringe at the general commercial feel of these.

    I can’t speak for other sports, but I will say that NASCAR relic cards, whether containing tires, sheet metal, or fire-suit swaths, tend to come from material that is already doomed to be recycled and/or discarded. Due to the nature of sponsorship changes and the wear and tear these suits go through (many are recycled to lower funded teams), ones deemed too far gone to sell wholesale or sheet metal that cannot be reused, tend to be the pieces that go into the relic cards, so I can’t cry for a historical item being cut to pieces.

    I vote you take a pic of the onion ring and turn it into a limited card edition of 25 or something. Then chop up the ring into bits and somehow embed pieces. I only want the one numbered 1 of 25.

Comments are closed.