Thoughts on Jerseys

I caught a brief glimpse of last weekend’s Cowboys-Eagles football game and seeing Michael Vick reminded me of a thought from many moons ago. I think most sports fans root for laundry first. We root for the team over individual players. Getting jerseys is one way of demonstrating said interest and I think, on average, the logo on the front means much more than the name and number on the back.

That being said, obviously there are cases where the purchasing and wearing of a jersey is meant as a sign of support to both the player and the team. In those cases, what happens when the conditions under which the jersey was selected change? For instance, owning an Atlanta Falcons Michael Vick jersey, as I saw someone wearing about six months ago outside San Francisco of all places, has had its meanings changed in the last few years. Maybe not to the person who bought it, but to others, and the owner is probably aware of that.

I do not own many personalized jerseys. I prefer to stick to blank ones. The very first personalized jersey I bought I got to enjoy for a whole year before the player whose name graced the back of it threw a fit in the locker room, demanded a trade, alienated the entire fan base and eventually forced his way off the team in a terrible trade. I don’t much like wearing that jersey anymore. No matter how much I know that I root for the team, not the player, it’s a constant reminder of that episode every time I see that jersey. Would you continue to wear it?

What about other altering circumstances? What about a player that changes his number? Does that annoy you? What about players that choke away an important game? How many were proud to wear their Jake Delhomme jerseys the last couple seasons? Or Brad Lidge Houston Astros jerseys? Or a Bill Buckner (if they had a name on the back) Red Sox jersey in the winter of 1986?

There are plenty of other events that could drastically alter the perception of a jersey as well. If golf was a team sport and there were Tiger Woods jerseys, would you feel different now about wearing it? At what point, if any, do you start feeling uncomfortable about the name on the back of the jersey that you wear and to what length — getting a new jersey, altering the current one, etc — would you go to rectify it?




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Matthew Carruth is a software engineer who has been fascinated with baseball statistics since age five. When not dissecting baseball, he is watching hockey or playing soccer.


113 Responses to “Thoughts on Jerseys”

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  1. Teej says:

    The only jersey I own is a Felix Hernandez jersey, and the reason for that is I’ve always been scared of teams trading my favorite players. And within a week of buying the jersey, I started hearing trade rumors about Felix. So I wore it for the first time while sitting on my couch watching Felix’s final start of 2009. And I prayed.

    The Mariners mean more to me than Felix, but at the same time, I’m fine with buying standard Mariners hats and T-shirts to show my support. The jersey, to me, seems like something I’d only do for special players. And players I’d like to think will be around for a while. I’ve always thought it was kind of weird to see people wearing jerseys of players who had moved on to other teams. There’s nothing wrong with it — jerseys are expensive — but it’s something I’d like to avoid.

    Now that I think of it, Franklin Gutierrez just signed an extension . . .

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  2. This is why i want a jersey of a past player. As a cubs fan, I plan on getting a Sandberg at some pt, as he was my childhood fav. player. I think people should focus more on guys they admired than guys they hope will be good and pleasant.

    For now, I’m donning my soto jersey (purchased before the 2008 season) and hoping he keeps it classy.

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    • JoeyO says:

      “For now, I’m donning my soto jersey (purchased before the 2008 season) and hoping he keeps it classy”

      Uhm, too late for that one, hahaha.

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    • Jason B says:

      I go the same route, Eck. With past players, you already know how their career played out with your team, and assuming it ended well, can bask in that warm afterglow. As a Jays fan, I proudly wore out my Delgado shirt.

      Now if I can just find that Junior Felix I’ve been looking for…

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      • Tim In Missouri says:

        Just pick a past great that had his golden years with your favorite team. That’s easy for me since I’m a Cardinals fan and Stan Musial played forever in St. Louis. You can actually get 3 different home jerseys because he played for 20 years. Plus, he’s never going to whine his way into a trade. Did I mention that he’s got the greatest nickname ever and it was given to him by Brooklyn Dodgers fans?

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  3. shibboleth says:

    I don’t have many baseball jerseys. But for me, its important to own the jersey of a player who has an impact on the game, beyond whatever your local team might be. Someone who will be remembered long after they stop playing. I’m thinking Pujols, Jeter, Mo… there will likely be others who stand the test of time. Even if they move on to other teams, the name will have a lasting, positive impression.

    Bonus points if you snag a jersey for the likes of Ripken, Gwynn, Biggio, or Brett. Sticking with one team is a rarity these days.

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    • DK says:

      I have two Biggio authentics (current home pinstripe, early 90s home white) and a Bagwell authentic (current home white/red logo) hanging in my closet. It’s nice to be able to wear those to any Astros game I will ever attend knowing they will always be Astros icons.

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  4. JoeyO says:

    Nah, you keep wearing a jersey even after the player becomes more problem then production. (baring legal meltdowns which make it impossible to wear without experiencing unwanted issues yourself)

    As you said, you wear it much more for the name on the front then the one on the back anyway. Plus, most players dont leave under horrible circumstances. And he was probably good enough at one time for your team or you wouldnt have gotten the Jersey to begin with. It becomes a connection to the history of your fandom, and creates for conversations at games (or about anywhere else you go sometimes.)

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  5. Mike Rogers says:

    I think players jerseys with names on them are the ONLY way to go. Blank jerseys look dumb in my opinion. And if you personalize it with your own name, someone should rip that off you. Major jersey foul.

    Personally, I love jerseys personalized with someone obscure on it. Like, if someone had an Hiram Bocachica Tigers jersey or something.

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  6. Renegade says:

    I bought Alex Rios, Roy Halladay and Vernon Wells jerseys. Yeah.. that’s worked out well. Just got Snider, Lind and Hill too…. Wallace, Drabek on the way! Probably a bad idea..

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  7. JH says:

    This winter I told my girlfriend to monitor baseball transactions, and that if Felix Hernandez signed a contract extension of 4 or more years, a Felix jersey would be the best Christmas present she could get me.

    It didn’t happen, and my record of never owning a player jersey continues.

    Gutierrez…well, maybe.

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  8. Kevin S. says:

    What about other altering circumstances? What about a player that changes his number? Does that annoy you?

    As the owner of a #22 Robinson Cano jersey (and because Majestic wants to make sure they aren’t re-usable, it has his name on the back), I can assure you that’s quite irritating. It now graces a forgotten corner of my closet, along with my old RJ Nets jersey. I think I’m safe with my (name-free!) Mantle throwback. With a “Final Season” patch on the arm. Ugh.

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    • Steve says:

      I don’t get why Cano’s number change renders the old jersey unwearable. He’s still on the team, and it has his name on the back so everyone “knows” it’s a Cano jersey and not a Clemens jersey. Are you worried you’ll be given a fine for inaccuracy? Ridiculed by the 1% of the population that would care enough to notice?

      If anything, I think it’s cool that the jersey says you were a Cano fan back before he was a “star”, since the jersey had to have been purchased in 2006.

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    • Andrew says:

      I have a #59 Felix Hernandez Jersey that I love wearing. I feel smart for being on the Felix bandwagon early.

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      • Brett says:

        Me too. I think of a rookie jersey like a rookie card, but more expensive so it shows you really knew what you were doing when you bought it. I had to get a new Griffey jersey because I couldn’t afford one the first time around. I yearn for a Gutierrez jersey and wish they would lift the ban on jerseys for past players so I could get an Edgar jersey.

        It’s certainly more about the team than the player, but I try to stick with players that will have a long lastong positive memory with myself and other fans.

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  9. Toffer Peak says:

    How could you have written this article while failing to mention http://straightcashhomey.net/ ? It’s pretty hilarious.

    That’s not spam. No, I’m serious it’s not.

    One of my favorites: http://straightcashhomey.net/post/19570194/terrmel-sledge-washington-nationals-barry-bonds

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  10. joser says:

    If they ain’t dead, I ain’t wearing they jersey.

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  11. Ryan says:

    I’m a huge Phillies fan (to the point where if i threw around the words “Biggest fan” it wouldn’t be extreme hyperbole) so I have a Victorino, Rollins, Hamels, Werth, and 3 Utley Jerseys (1 USA), and a Halladay on the way.
    That is no surprise. However, as big of a team fan of the Phillies that I am, I also love certain players. I have an Orioles / Cal Ripken Jersey that I got about 7 or 8 years ago, which is fine because they’ve always been my AL team. The thing is I’ve wanted an Albert Pujols jersey since I was 17 (I’m 22 now). So this summer I waited for the All-Star game and purchased a NL / Pujols jersey. I figure this doesn’t support the Cards, but supports the greatest player in 3/4 a century.

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    • neuter_your_dogma says:

      I have a Cliff Lee jersey for sale if you want it. I thought I was safe for at least another year at 8M. Thanks, Ruben.

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      • joser says:

        There are a bunch of M’s fans on this site. You never know, you might get a serious inquiry.

        Then again, you might want to hang onto it: he’s pretty likely going somewhere else in ’11, and Philly is one of the few teams that might be able to afford him.

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  12. coreyjro says:

    I guess the safest is a superstar to a long term contract. Matt Holliday fans can feel safe in purchasing a jersey. Sabathia and Teixeira would be good bets too.

    You could always go risky and pick a rookie, I might be in the market for a Dustin Ackley jersey, once such a thing exists.

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    • Mister Delaware says:

      Sabathia has an opt out after 2011. Wouldn’t spend too much on him just yet.

      (I’ve stopped buying Yankees pitchers name/number t-shirts because I was a massive jinx. Although it was always fun to wear the Pavano one out just to see who would sympathize with or mock me.)

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  13. Vinnie says:

    “The very first personalized jersey I bought I got to enjoy for a whole year before the player whose name graced the back of it threw a fit in the locker room, demanded a trade, alienated the entire fan base and eventually forced his way off the team in a terrible trade.”

    Come on, don’t be coy. Who was it? I must know!

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  14. royalpug says:

    The only personalized Jerseys I have are of Billy Butler, Gil Meche and Jared Allen.
    The Butler and Meche ones were good investments, each just started the first of many years as a Royal and were actually good players.

    The Allen jersey was as much a show of support for the guy as it was anything else. More than anything I wanted Carl Peterson to resign him and even tried to get my mom, whose a marketing director here in KC, to hire him as a spokesman.

    Needless to say less than 8 months later I had a $120 unheard statement.

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  15. Nick Mitchell says:

    Being from Chicago and collecting (mostly) Chicago team jerseys in recent times, I have a cluster of bad picks…

    Dating way back, I can remember one of the very first nice jerseys someone had purchased for me as a gift was a Rashaan Salaam mesh-type replica. At that point in time for me, by “nice”, I would have to define that as not a shirt-jersey or a knock-off Walter Payton #34 orange & blue sweater that you could find sold in any Chicago department store or yearly-issued shopping catalog of each said store (i.e. Kohls, JC Penny, etc.) — there were also a shitload of #34 Halloween costumes designed after Payton and the Bears’ jerseys that were being sold around the same time and into the mid-late-nineties as well I think actually, because I can remember them still being around when the older of my two younger brothers was just getting old enough to understand football and sports — about ’97 or ’98 even I’d say. I received the Salaam jersey at some point over the summer after the Bears had drafted him, or in the midst of his rookie season… don’t remember exactly when. But once I had it in my possession, I rarely took it off. OCD-tendencies as a kid/early teen coupled with the fact that I guess I really liked Salaam for a second or two there, by the time he was a complete bust the jersey had tarnished and you could barely read the name or number. It was only priced in the 35-50$ range anyway, but that was the first of many future shitty jerseys I would purchase or have purchased for me.

    In the 90s and right around the turn into 200 when he still travelled more often, my father would go on business trips and bring back my brother and I a jersey from whatever town or city he was in, and it was usually an NFL or NBA jersey for some reason or another. I think the fact that we collected baseball caps had something to do with it, because he usually would bring a cap instead of a jersey when it came to MLB gear. Anyway, recollecting quickly… a quick list of some of the oddball jerseys he brought us back that I can remember (and most of which I should note that I had little, and probably in most cases no influence on the players that were chosen from each team’s city, for better or for worse…), all of them likely being replicas or whatever the cheaper variety was at the time.
    – Brad Johnson (the QB… I think there was another Brad Johnson too for some reason), Vikings
    – Jeff Blake, Bengals
    – Michael Bennett, Vikings
    – Reggie Miller, Pacers (had multiples here… one of my favorite players growing up, I still have some of these in child-size and good condition stored away incase I drop seeds someday)
    – Troy Aikman, Cowboys
    – Detlef Schrempf, Sonics
    – Shawn Kemp, Sonics
    – Penny Hardaway, Magic
    – Shaq, Magic
    – Vinny Del Negro, Spurs
    – David Robinson, Spurs
    – Dominque Wilkins, Celitcs (pretty sure… maybe it was for the Hawks, but I don’t think so)
    – Clyde Drexler, Rockets
    – Hakeem Olajuwon, rockets

    As for Chicago jerseys… and not counting any Cubs shirt-jerseys (and if I did count those, I’m pretty sure I have a Glennallen Hill somewhere in a closet… top that!) since I have a fair amount from summers ago where I went to Wrigley a lot and was intent on buying something atleast every other game…

    Dennis Rodman, Bulls
    Michael Jordan, Bulls
    Scottie Pippen, Bulls
    (had one or more of all 3 of the above at one time or another… Rodman inparticular)
    Toni Kukoc, Bulls
    Ron Mercer, Bulls (lol)
    Andres Noccioni, Bulls
    Jay Williams, Bulls
    Elton Brand, Bulls
    most of these were replicas and some may have even been of the really cheap mesh kick-around variety

    Cedric Benson, Bears (orange-alternate home… how ironic is that? From a distance it could pass as a Bengals jersey, maybe)
    Mark Anderson, Bears home
    both are replicas and the only two Bears jerseys I’ve purchased in recent time. I was on the verge of buying a white Olsen replica (I won’t spend the amount on an authentic NFL jersey unless it’s a throwback or something that will have everlasting value, and throwbacks just aren’t very appealing to me), but I never did and don’t plan on it now. I believe I had an A-Train Anthony Thomas home replica too, but I don’t know what happened to it.

    Felix Pie, Cubs home… #20, although when I purchased it the store had sold a #17 version as well. Or maybe it’s the other way around, I don’t remember. I bought the one that he wound up wearing for the majority of his tenure with the Cubs… pretty sure that was 20.
    This one was a birthday present from 2008 (July). I had been high on Pie for years prior, starting inparticular when Sosa had started to fade and was dealt and talk of Pie being perhaps the next franchise cornerstone came into place. I was disappointed to say the least when he was dealt, but the writing had been on the wall for awhile by then so it wasn’t a surprise or even the least bit shocking. I won’t get rid of the jersey and I still hope well for Pie. I think he has the talent to be a nice player and will atleast stick around for awhile on the big level, but it wasn’t going to happen with the Cubs organazation even if Satan was in his corner. I got to wear the jersey to exactly two games that he appeared in. I was close to buying a Marmol jersey at a certain point that same season, and am so glad I refrained.

    Shawon Dunston, Cubs (throwback-type)
    It’s one of those cooperstown collection jerseys I believe. It doesn’t button and in essance is like a shirt-jersey, but the numbers and lettering is stitched on the back and the material is nicer than t-shirt quality. Dunston was my favorite Cub growing up, atleast before Sosa had his big 30/30 year (as then I became infactuated at that point moving forward and I think Dunston was out the door to SFN or STL by then anyway). I saw this at a Cubs shop and bought it on a whim… more of a collectors item to me than something I’d wear.

    I used to have a Kerry Wood home authentic jersey, but it’s in transition at the moment. Had both Sosa and Prior replica jerseys, but they’re both boxed up somewhere or maybe just plain missing as well.

    Patrick Kane, home (red) authentic
    Patrick Sharp, winter classic replica
    Jonathan Toews, winter classic replica

    Seems like I’m missing something new, but that’s it. I have a bunch of old crap that I probably forgot about, but it’s long gone by now anyway. I liked the article though. I haven’t bought a jersey for myself in a long time… the Hawks jerseys were the most recent ones, and the Kane authentic was a surprise gift I didn’t ask. The other two I was given under similar circumstances. I don’t know if I’ll ever spend upwards 100$ on a jersey ever again given the general turnover rate with atheletes, especaially the ones I seem to always like.

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    • CricleChange11 says:

      I (sorta) collect Minor League Hockey Jerseys.

      I live (kinda) in the area of the Peoria Rivermen & Chicago Wolves.

      I will say, collecting hockey jerseys makes one an easy person to shop for during Xmas time. I haven’t got a duplicate yet. *grin*

      My favorite though is my Blackhawks ‘The Blood and the Bruises’ (red & Black) Roenick jersey.

      My only stipulation is “No Detroit (or affiliates) jerseys”.

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  16. Nick Mitchell says:

    “The very first personalized jersey I bought I got to enjoy for a whole year before the player whose name graced the back of it threw a fit in the locker room, demanded a trade, alienated the entire fan base and eventually forced his way off the team in a terrible trade.”

    I have no idea if I’m anywhere in ballpark, but I’m going to make an off-based guess and say T.O. One productive year in Philly before he melted down yr 2… and I’m pretty sure his jersey sales in Philly were pretty big at the time of his signing. But I don’t even remember the circumstances of his melt-down, what prompted it, or where it happened… or what the return in the trade or circumstances of his move to Dallas even were. I just remember it got pretty ugly before he left.

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  17. Larry Smith Jr. says:

    Mike said something above that I only heard for the first time a couple months ago on local sports talk but apparently is a fairly common sentiment that I absolutely don’t share, nor had I ever heard before a couple months ago — About the wearing of a jersey with your own name on it. Not only do I have several jerseys with my own name on it, but at this stage, I wouldn’t buy a jersey with another players name on it ever again. Most of what Matthew said in his article is the basis of my reasoning:

    * – I could for some reason or another begin to dislike the player. Would’ve easily shelled out the money for a Higginson jersey in 1998, if I weren’t in High School and too poor to do so. By 2003, not so much.

    * – The player could be traded, instantly dating my jersey.

    * – The biggest reason of all though is simply that around the time I turned 23 or 24…..basically around the point where multiple major leaguers were younger than me and not just Jeremy Bonderman and Omar Infante…..I kinda realized that these guys were my peers (or younger) and not “grown-ups” like I had always previously perceived them. I’m a grown man. Why would I want another grown man’s name on my back? lol Especially one younger than I am. As an aside, I still have my child-like awe of players who are considerably older than I am………basically, players who were in the league when I was a kid. Not many are active anymore, but I still view guys like Gary Sheffield and Ken Griffey Jr. the same way I did when I was a kid. The same with retired players. If I ever saw Pete Rose in real life, for instance, I’d probably get giddy and giggly. At this point though, I see most current MLB players as my peers. Very rich peers who have talents that I don’t have and never will, but peers nonetheless. I wouldn’t put some other 30 year old man’s name on my back. I don’t begrudge people who do, by the way……I’m just saying that its not my style.

    * – Finally, I’M the fan. I’m representing myself as a fan. And what’s most important to me is on the front of the jersey. So I need my fan jersey representating my stake as the fan. I have home, away, and 1972 away jerseys personalized with my own name.

    Final point not related to my position but more to a point made in the article…….Based on the reaction of many Tiger fans I know to the trade of Curtis Granderson, I’m not so sure *everybody* roots for the jersey over the players. There’s alot of people around here who act like Dave Dombrowski — And by extension the Tigers — Shot them in the face. Personally.

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  18. Nick says:

    I’ve wanted to get an OJ jersey for years but they cost like 100 bucks.

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  19. Shane says:

    I own three personalized jerseys for baseball. My first was an away jersey for David Ortiz, he is my favorite player and my best friend from high school gave it to me as a gift for being his best man so I don’t for see myself ever not wearing it. My second was a home jersey for Kevin Youkilis that I got right after he signed an extension. The third is actually as Coco Crisp Sox jersey that my girlfriend somehow found for me this x-mas because I had mentioned off hand last year that I regretted not buying one when the were only $50 last off season.

    The Ortiz jersey I had no hesitation about, he’s by far my favorite Sox player. Youkilis was quickly becoming my second favorite, but until there was some sign that the team wasn’t going to just trade him the next season I didn’t want to invest in a jersey. Funnily enough though, I wanted my Coco jersey because he was traded. I always liked him on the team and perhaps it was my way of trying to remind people in the next few years that he was Sox player.

    ” What about a player that changes his number? Does that annoy you?”
    Not really. I’d just keep my old jersey. Hell, in a way you’re bragging that you were a fan before they got the new number. :)

    The only time I’ve been given pause was with my Manny Ramirez t-shirt. I was fine with the bad split with Boston, time would heal that wound, but after the suspension and non-existent explanation the shirt got moth-balled. I think my girlfriend has wore it a few times when we painted the house.

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  20. brownra2 says:

    While I generally agree with the ‘team first, player second’ sentiment, you are going to have to send a team of ninjas to pull the Detroit Tigers Curtis Granderson jersey off of my cold dead body.

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  21. Mike K says:

    I actually don’t own any baseball jerseys, but I do have a few football ones – Strahan, Brandon Jacobs, and Shockey. The one I wear most now (though I wear none often) is Jacobs. I haven’t worn the Shockey jersey since he was traded. Probably after he retires I’ll wear it again, but it just feels “wrong” wearing the jersey of a player on a different team.

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    • Chuck says:

      That’s why I’m waiting for Ty Law to go a season without suiting up for a few games. In my book, as soon as he is out of the league for a year, it becomes ok to wear his Pats jersey again. My red Brady one is sadly permanently retired after what your boys did to us two years ago.

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  22. NEPP says:

    I have a Pat Burrell Phillies jersey that I bought in 03. If I were to replace it (since I won’t wear it anymore) it would either be a Chase Utley jersery or a Powder Blue Michael Jack Schmidt throwback jersey.

    I love throwbacks.

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  23. Joe R says:

    My only Red Sox jersey is a Curt Schilling St. Patrick’s Day-green jersey.

    Good choice, imo.

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    • NEPP says:

      Great choice. I used to go to every Curt Schilling home game when he was a Phillie. I even went to several when he was a BoSox as I was living in Mass at the time…harder to get tickets to Fenway than the old Vet though.

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      • The A Team says:

        That was the best part of the Phillies sucking. $13 seats 3 rows into the 200 section right behind the Phillies dugout. My folks and I went to like 50-60 games a year during that drought. Prior to 9/11 they used to let us park on the ramp because the ushers got to know us. Now similar seats cost around 50+ so we only get to 6-8 a year and sell the rest.

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      • Joe R says:

        I’ve never known cheap Red Sox tickets.

        Got to love when a team with a huge demand has one of the more limited supplies of tickets.

        I just learned that Fenway took just 7 months from ground break to opening day. Now I know why I’m facing the visitors’ dugout when in right field.

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      • Joe R says:

        More random: holy shit 11 of Schilling’s 19 career postseason starts were 7+ IP and 1 ER or less.

        And his K/BB for his 3 1/2 years in Arizona was 7.48.

        And I also like it when he mocks CHB.

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      • NEPP says:

        Yeah, that Schilling fella was a halfway decent pitcher in his prime.

        He’ll have a plaque in Cooperstown one day.

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  24. NEPP says:

    Putting your own name on a team jersey is stupid…unless you are on that team’s 25 man roster.

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    • joser says:

      Sometimes it’s a gift, though, where the people doing the giving are trying to celebrate your fandom (and/or they have no freaking clue of which player you’d actually prefer). The #12 shirts that some football fans wear are perfectly fine for this, for example.

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    • CricleChange11 says:

      Putting your own name on a team jersey is stupid…unless you are on that team’s 25 man roster.

      Really?

      I don;t see how it’s any “dumber” than a grown man wearing another grown man’s jersey and number. I mean are you his girlfriend or what?

      All of the sudden I have the urge to get my own name on a jersey. I had no idea it would bother people … now, it sounds fun.

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  25. The A Team says:

    I’ve never been much into jerseys but sometimes I wish I had an Adam Eaton Phillies jersey. Or some other jersey nobody could possibly take seriously. A customized Carlos Ruiz jersey with Chooch on the back would be pretty sweet. Basically, if I’m going to pay $100 for an uncomfortable shirt I want it to be damned unique.

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  26. NEPP says:

    If I saw someone walking across the street in an Adam Eaton Phillies jersey, I probably wouldn’t slow down my car.

    Getting a Chooch jersey is fine…he’s a huge part of the team and a fan favorite. Eaton was a colossal prick who also sucked brutally for them. It was never his fault…he always “pitched a pretty good game except for a couple HRs, those 10 other hits, blah blah blah”

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  27. Matt says:

    I actually purchased an Ichiro jersey before his first game as an M’s….10 years later I still wear it to games….However, I also purchased a Kaz jersey 3 months before he went back to Japan.

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  28. d says:

    My ex-brother-in-law owns a small sporting goods store near Philly. He has to be very careful in what he orders, people do by the shirts for the names on the back. People may root for laundry, but they probably have a favorite player on the team! He’s gotten stuck with a bunch of left-overs after a trade or free-agent leaving.

    On the other hand – Red Sox and Yankees home jerseys don’t have names on the back – so the Buckner home jersey #6 could still be worn in celbration of:
    Rick Cerone 1988-89
    Tony Pena 1990-93
    Damon Berryhill 1994
    Chris Donnels 1995
    Gary Gaetti 2000

    Of course, it was retired in 2008 for Johnny Pesky

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  29. Chuck says:

    Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I don’t think a grown man should wear another man’s name on his back, particularly if the latter is a contemporary or younger than the jersey wearer. It’s cute when women do this. A guy — not so much.

    I would make an allowance for a grown man if he is wearing the name of his childhood hero. Otherwise: be your own man.

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  30. harry says:

    Only one I have now is an Alfonso Soriano Yankees shirt, that I bought AFTER he was traded..

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  31. YiYang says:

    The only jerseys that I own are either football (soccer) – Lionel Messi (Barcelona) and Kaka (A.C. Milan) – or Yankee ones – Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. You can’t go wrong with any of the four on that list. :)

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    • Jason B says:

      I can’t imagine wearing a jersey with someone’s name which is a variation on something scatalogical. Even if he’s the best soccer player on the planet earth, when you see/hear that name, you think “poo”.

      On an unrelated note, I *LOVE* seeing a huge, huge tub of goo wearing the jersey of some skinny or smallish player. Always elicits comments like, “Gee Tim Lincecum has REALLY let himself go!” or “Man Randy Moss is big these days – and white too!”

      Yes, I freely admit to being easily amused, and having the mindset of a twelve-year-old. (Within limits of course. I will *not* be made to endure Love Guru or Old Dogs.)

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      • CricleChange11 says:

        No lie … when I was an elementary school principal, one of our lunch supervisors (aka, “lunch ladies”) called me over to see a kid’s “inappropriate shirt”.

        You can see where I’m going with this, “Fukudome”.

        Now, if you’re at a bar, and a hot skank is wearing a “Fukudome” jersey, then it might be inappropriate (or awesome), depending on your perspective (or availability).

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  32. Sandy Kazmir says:

    I still rock my 05 Kazmir, even though he’s gone, he won’t be forgotten. Plus, I like the colors from back then, green is boss. I’ve got a, 08 Upton one that is almost too pretty. It’s hard to wear in public.

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  33. SteveM says:

    My first jersey was a Mitchell & Ness Mets road #15 (for my first favorite Met, Jerry Grote). I’ve always been attracted to road jerseys for some reason, and the OLD M&N road grays are classics. A Seaver home jersey is just WAY too common.

    To the Tiger Woods point, you couldn’t swing a dead cat in a golf shop the last ten years or so without hitting the TW Nike insignia. Those might be considerably less common this coming summer… except in your local discount store!

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  34. AInquisition says:

    Black authentic Buehrle
    Pinstriped Replica Konerko that’s gigantic
    Black Beckham T-Shirt that I got 3 weeks into his MLB career
    Red Toews T-Shirt where the numbers came off really fast
    Home Replica Vasher and Mike Brown
    Away Replica Urlacher
    Swingman White LeBron
    And some nameless scooer jerseys, Newcastle, AC Milan, Barcalona, Ajax, Polish National Team

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  35. Walt says:

    “How many were proud to wear … Or a Bill Buckner (if they had a name on the back) Red Sox jersey in the winter of 1986?”

    Since there is no good reason for an adult to wear a sports jersey anywhere but to a sporting event (or possibly while watching a sporting event), I hope no one was wearing a Buckner jersey in the winter of ’86.

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    • CricleChange11 says:

      On the other hand, I would LOVE to buy & wear some commemorative Steve Bartman “headphones”.

      I say that in jest, but now I realize, there’s likely a website selling them.

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  36. Jon J. says:

    At a Redskins-Jets game two years ago and saw a woman wearing a Fred Smoot jersey. I wasn’t sure if she was ignorant of his Viking Sex Boat indescretions or was a woman of “casual moral character”.

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  37. Rut says:

    I was at a game last year when the O’s came to town and I saw a husky young couple sporting matching #10 orioles jerseys, but both had duct taped over the name and written “JONES”. Despite typically being hostile to enemy fans, I had to ask who #10 had been- they quickly told me Tejada and we all laughed for a second or so. I’d advise others to do the same with their old jerseys.

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  38. randy johnson's jockstrap says:

    still wear my Bret Boone Twins (lol) and Randy Moss Vikings jersey to games…doesn’t bother me that they aren’t with those teams anymore

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  39. swpayton says:

    My buddy, a Pirates fan, followed Bonds’ career after the move to SF. He bought jerseys, planned trips to games and gave his allegiance to the Giants (while keeping his Pirates fandom). He told me that Bonds was his favorite player and nothing could change that.

    While I respect my friend and appreciate his loyalty I cannot bring myself to trust a player in that manner. While the trust-problem is most certainly mine and not the fault of any individual player I feel that this era, the information era, makes it more difficult than in my father’s time to rely on a player. When applying a name to my back I’m saying “that’s my guy…win or lose…richer or poorer.”

    While the reply of “dude, it’s just a jersey” is certainly valid I feel that a jersey with a name is a commitment…a commitment that I cannot discard easily due to my love of my team and my lack of surplus income to throw at apparel. As a result, retired greats are the only players you’ll see on my back

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  40. DL80 says:

    I actually think people root for the city/region, rather than the uniform/team/player. There is the rare exception of a player that true fans continue to support even when they go to another team (Ray Borque, Joe Thornton, Frank Thomas, Schilling), but for the most part you are rooting for (usually) your home city or region, in a sort of psuedo-patriotism. Just ask Yankees, Red Sox, Patriots, or Cubs fans. It’s not about the players, it’s not really about the team. It’s about NY, New England, and Chicago. That, in my opinion, is why the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry is so heated. It’s about whole regions of the country hating whole other regions of the country.

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    • randy johnson's jockstrap says:

      if i liked a player who played for one of my hometown teams i’ll continue to root for them when they move on to another city…maybe its because i’m a fan of teams that let most/all of their good players walk so i’ve grown used to it

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  41. Choo says:

    I bought a Mariners throwback jersey – no number or name – before a trip to Fenway Park for a three game set between the M’s and Sox. Still the only jersey I have ever purchased, and I only wear it to M’s games.

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  42. joser says:

    I guess a link to this is in order. Got the owner a hug from the man himself at the USSM/LL meetup a few days back.

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  43. Ben says:

    The Red Sox used to make T-shirt jerseys for Rich Garces that listed “˜El Guapo #34″ on the back. And, yes, they used the “˜” above the “El” even though that’s not the correct Spanish. I live on the West Coast now, so not too many folks out here remember Garces, but almost everyone can translate the nickname. He had a relatively short career, but damn, that guy brought the sexy.

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  44. Pat says:

    I am trying to save up money to get an Andrew McCutchen jersey, for now I just have an Andy LaRoche jersey tee and I have a Felix Hernandez jersey I got off EBay for cheap.

    One of the funniest things I’ve seen in a while was when I went to Champs sports, they had a Nationals Jose Vidro jersey, along with an Orioles Corey Patterson. I almost died laughing, and wanted to just buy both of them for fun.

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  45. nettles says:

    I have three personalized Yankees jerseys: Munson, Jeter, & Rivera. Pretty certain that I’d never be ashamed to wear any of them.

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  46. MikeS says:

    At a White Sox game, I once saw a jersey with no number on the back, just names. About 6 names. The top five were players who had previously been with the team and had left. They were all crossod out in red fabric. Only the name at the bottom was left. I imagine when that guy left, a new name was added.

    It was something like this (if I can get the HTML right):
    Fisk
    Raines
    Ventura
    Ordonez
    Podsednik

    As the owner of a Magglio Ordonez White Sox jersey, I thought that was clever.

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  47. Bruce W says:

    I bought a jersey this summer. I wanted to go with a J.D. Drew home jersey but the likelyhood of him not being with my beloved Sox for much longer made me reconsider. I ended up choosing Lester.

    I own a S.F. Giants Bonds’ jersey and I still wear it. More to spark conversation but I’ve always been a Bonds’ fan.

    I also own a UF Emmitt Smith jersey, a Denver Allen Iverson jersey and my next jersey will be a UT Vince Young.

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  48. apunetid says:

    My goodness, I just realized I read this whole post and most of the comments all while wearing my Ichiro jersey! For me, it’s mostly about the team (although having a good player on the back can be an extra bonus), but I’m in Southern California, so Mariners apparel is difficult to find locally. I was at a thrift store one day, however, and I came upon this brand new-looking Ichiro jersey, which I purchased for $3. That was still a little much for me, but I’m rather parsimonious (and feel radically more so after reading some of the comments here!).

    I also have a Griffey jersey which I received in 1998, one year before he threw a fit in the locker room, demanded a trade, and eventually forced his way off the team in a terrible (for me personally, at least; I wouldn’t say it was bad for the Mariners) trade. I therefore submit Griffey as the answer to Matthew’s riddle; it seemed obvious at first, but then again, many things that seem obvious are not so, as evidenced by those confounding “Player A vs. Player B” comparisons that tricky authors always make!

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  49. Ivdown says:

    I’ve got an away Albert Pujols jersey that I got for my birthday back in 2006. I’ve gotten to wear it to a few Dodgers-Cardinals games in LA. The Dodgers are my all-time favorite team, but the Cardinals are my 2nd favorite team and only other team I will really root for outside of the Dodgers.

    I did not wear the Pujols jersey to game 2 of the NLDS this year, it was all Dodgers (Thanks Holliday :D).

    I currently am dying to get a home Kemp jersey and home Kershaw jersey. One thing I’ve toyed with in my mind is getting a personalized jersey with 27 on the back (Dodgers home) and having “Bison” or Matt “Bison” Kemp for the name. It’s probly lame, lol. I got the idea from my gf who got a Corey Perry jersey for the Ducks and had “Pears” put on the back instead of “Perry”. I thought it was cool.

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    • Ivdown says:

      OH, I’ve also got a home Bengals Carson Palmer jersey that I got for Christmas in 2005. I freakin love that jersey. It’s the best looking jersey I’ve ever seen for any team in any sport. The colors go so well together.

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  50. Whartonite says:

    This is one good thing about the Yankees’ megadeals. I’m not the least bit worried about my Rodriguez and Teixeira jerseys. Team USA Jeter seems okay too. Cano changing to #24 right after I got that one did piss me off though.

    That said, my “Got Melky?” and Johnny Damon t-shirts may be on the way out, but those are cheap anyway, and still good for do-nothing days.

    Damn, I have a lot of Yankees stuff.

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  51. Gamaliel says:

    I can’t help it; I love ironic, random jerseys. It’s the sports equivalent of hipsterism, I guess. I’ve got these beauties in my closet:

    Michael Jordan, Wizards
    Jason Kendall, Pirates (sleeveless, naturally)
    Barry Bonds, Giants
    Rickey Henderson, Mariners

    But my all time favorite is a Karim Abdul-Jabbar jersey with the Dolphins. Yes, the guy who rushed for 1,000 yards on 400 carries back in 93 or so. The “real” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar actually sued him to change his last name to Abdul, so the jersey is a rarity… well, even more than it already would have been.

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  52. CricleChange11 says:

    IMO, wearing individual jerseys depends on age.

    Age also likely determines whether a person is the fan of the “team” or a fan of just one player.

    I have 2 individual jerseys, and they both hang on my Wall of Fame in my office. [1] A powder blue #51 McGee jersey and [2] A ranbow #25 Cruz jersey (Astros).

    I did buy a White cardinals jersey 4 years ago and had it professionally lettered with “Champions” as the nameplate and 06 as the numbers. It gets worn every now and then, but only because I live in ‘Cub Country’. It’s almost no fun at this point.

    My 8yo son on the other hand ONLY wears jerseys and ‘jersey t-shirts’. Every damn day this kid has some type of “team theme” going (He’s the kid you see at the stadium in “full uniform”, including ‘eye black strips’ … y’know just in case the teams needs him to play SS in a pinch). One day he’s ARod, then he’s Zambrano, then it’s D-Lee, and then back to Jeter. The only player he seemingly won’t honor is Pujols. I mean seriously, you’ll wear a Theriot jersey, but not #5? Having a Cubs fan as a son is disappointing. *grin*

    It’s a lot more fun to be 8yo than it is to be 36. As a kid, I had a ton of jerseys/hats, and during stickball, ragball, indianball, we seemingly changed hats/shirts at a ridiculous rate. Doing laundry must have been just fabulous for our moms.

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  53. Rex Sbarra says:

    Really love the idea. Hope men track jackets site can guide someone out there.

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