20 June 2014

the number in red

every once in a while, somebody will share a list ranking baseball uniforms.  the padres are usually last on those lists, and the yankees are usually first.  i, of course, believe that the dodgers' home ice whites are the best in baseball.  i once read an interview with tommy john in which he said something that i had thought to be true for years - that the thing that makes the dodger uniform is the red number on the jersey.  just ask kaz ishii's 2002 topps 206 card.
and, no matter what panini (or even topps sometimes) tries to make us believe, the little number on the front has never been blue.  the red not only completes the red, white, and blue theme (steve garvey famously noted that when he was a dodger, he resembled the american flag, but when he went to san diego, he looked like a taco), it also adds some visual flair that helps eric gagne stand out from the crowd on his 2005 upper deck card.
walter o'malley had added the red number to the jerseys for the 1951 world series.  however, bobby thomson got in the way, and so the dodgers didn't debut the new look unis until 1952.  since then, every dodger uniform (even the sacrilegious blue tops) have featured the number in red.
when card companies started putting jersey and patch pieces into cards, i was quite the sucker for pieces of the red number.  i have a fair number of cards featuring the red number patch - here are just a few.

2005 donruss prime patches adrian beltre
no red number on the mariners' jerseys!

2005 playoff absolute memorabilia kevin brown tools of the trade
a bat piece, a regular away jersey piece, and a red number piece.

2004 playoff prime cuts rickey henderson
i've got a couple of patch cards of rickey from this set, but this one is my favorite.

i think the player of whom i have the most red patch cards is shawn green, but i have three or four such cards of steve garvey.  i probably would have more had fleer not gone bankrupt and actually fulfilled the garvey and garvey/fernando valenzuela patch redemption cards i sent in back in the mid-2000's.  anyway, one of the red patch garvey cards i have is this 2002 fleer fall classic card
which also features a red patch from tony perez's jersey.  i've got all the variations of this card, as you will eventually see when i post the contents of my garvey binders over the next few months.  i know you can't wait.

the best garvey red patch card that i own is the 2001 leaf certified materials 6/6 card, but this one is nice, too.
it comes from the same set (2001 leaf certified materials), but is numbered to /21.  it's from an early garvey jersey, as the red patch is made of wool.

red patch cards still pop up from time to time, usually in higher end product, and most certainly in lower print run varieties.  i'll make a run at some once in a while because i just can't resist having a piece of the best part of the dodger uniform.

1 comment:

Stealing Home said...

Good stuff.
I never thought about the red numbers as swatches before, never even saw one....but now I gotta have one of my own!