I love authentic jerseys.
They weren’t readily available to purchase when I was a kid, and my folks wouldn’t have allowed me to shell out the big bucks anyway.
The only jerseys you could buy back then were the cheap replicas and so I did.
In the baseball season, I had a Lee Mazzilli New York Mets home jersey.
My choice in hoops was a Larry Bird Boston Celtics road uniform.
For football, I was the only kid in my school that had an O.J. Simpson San Francisco 49ers jersey (it was a form of protest by this broken-hearted Bills fan after they traded away my childhood hero).
When we travel around the International League with the PawSox, we see dozens of Red Sox jerseys in the stands every night wherever we go. For the most part, I think it’s great, but I have come up with a few basic rules for proper jersey-wearing etiquette.
There are essentially three types of acceptable jerseys for a fan to wear:
1. Any Current Player. That’s right, from the superstar to the utility man, if he’s on the current roster it’s OK by me. For example, if Boof Bonser makes the Red Sox and you can actually find his jersey, feel free to shell out your $175. But if the player you have chosen is traded or released, the jersey has to go unless he’s a . . .
2. Team Legend. Ideally, the style of the jersey should match the look of the player’s era. This category is open to some interpretation. For example, in my book Nomar Garciaparra doesn’t qualify as a Red Sox legend, but you might disagree. However, if you bought a Coco Crisp jersey and are too cheap to get rid of it, you can’t try to claim that he’s a Sox legend. One additional note about the “legend” category – if the player does something really bad, the jersey is no longer wearable (see my O.J. Simpson jersey).
3. Wild-Card Category. This can be an up-and-coming prospect, a memorable character in team history, a guy with a bizarre last name, a player that was just obtained in a trade or through free agency, or a former Pawtucket player that I really like (these are my rules after all).
Since spring training is just around the corner, perhaps you’re considering purchasing a new jersey to wear in 2010. Here are some Dan Hoard-approved choices from all 30 MLB teams.
TEAM CURRENT LEGEND WILD-CARD
Baltimore Matt Wieters Cal Ripken Rick Dempsey
Boston David Ortiz Ted Williams Kevin Youkilis
While Sox Mark Buehrle Carlton Fisk Gordon Beckham
Cleveland Grady Sizemore Bob Feller Justin Masterson
Detroit Justin Verlander Ty Cobb Mark Fidrych
Kansas City Zack Greinke George Brett Dan Quisenberry
LA Angels Torii Hunter Nolan Ryan Brandon Wood
Minnesota Joe Mauer Kirby Puckett Justin Morneau
NY Yankees Derek Jeter Lou Gehrig Mariano Rivera
Oakland Andrew Bailey Reggie Jackson Craig Breslow
Seattle Ichiro Suzuki Ken Griffey Jr. Jay Buhner
Tampa Bay Evan Longoria Carl Crawford Carlos Pena
Texas Josh Hamilton Nolan Ryan David Murphy
Toronto Adam Lind Roberto Alomar Marc Rzepczynski
Arizona Brandon Webb Randy Johnson Mark Grace
Atlanta Chipper Jones Henry Aaron Tommy Hanson
Cubs Derrek Lee Ernie Banks Kosuke Fukudome
Cincinnati Joey Votto Pete Rose Jose Rijo
Colorado Todd Helton Larry Walker Troy Tulowitzki
Florida Hanley Ramirez Dontrelle Willis Dan Uggla
Houston Lance Berkman Jeff Bagwell Chris Johnson
LA Dodgers Manny Ramirez Sandy Koufax Clayton Kershaw
Milwaukee Prince Fielder Robin Yount Alcides Escobar
NY Mets David Wright Tom Seaver Ed Kranepool
Philadelphia Chase Utley Mike Schmidt Roy Halladay
Pittsburgh A.McCutcheon Roberto Clemente Brandon Moss
San Diego Adrian Gonzalez Tony Gwynn Trevor Hoffman
San Francisco Tim Lincecum Willie Mays Pablo Sandoval
St. Louis Albert Pujols Stan Musial Matt Holliday
Washington Adam Dunn Gary Carter Stephen Strasburg
By the way, not everyone agrees that wearing jerseys is cool. I caught a female comedian named Whitney Cummings on the Tonight Show last week who questioned why so many guys wear jerseys while watching their favorite teams play on TV. As she pointed out, she doesn’t put on scrubs to watch Grey’s Anatomy.