Type 'new russian jersey' into eBay and you get a Bon Jovi CD
For my first post about the mysterious Brushback jersey closet, you'd probably expect me to pick out one of the Russian jerseys to talk about, or any of the Wolf Pack/Rangers jerseys, but I'm not. Just to be different (stupid, some might say), I'm going to post about the minor league baseball gameworns that I own.
New Britain Rock Cats ’97-’99 #35 Alan Mahaffey jersey
Alan Mahaffey was a left-handed starter who pitched in New Britain for three seasons, including the fabled '98 season when the Rock Cats made their first trip to the Eastern League finals. I bought this jersey at the New Britain Stadium team store, and like almost all minor league jerseys from that time, it was used for more than one season.
I don't know if they're still there now, but there used to be a bunch of old-timers who'd sit in the front row of the first base side bleachers at every Rock Cats game, and they knew the number of every player from the '98 team by heart. Whenever I'd walk past them with this jersey on, even three or four seasons later, one of them would invariably croak, "Hey, Alan!" or "Hey, Mahaffey!"
Two seasons after I bought it, current AL MVP Justin Morneau played his first full season in New Britain, wearing #35. Since home jerseys don't have names on their backs*, it made my #35 Mahaffey jersey look like a game-worn Morneau jersey, and I was able to walk around like a big shot.
Waterbury Spirit ’97-’00 #10 Mike Church jersey
Pitching coach Rich Gale also wore this jersey, as well as an outfielder whose name I've forgotten, but catcher Mike Church (from Cheshire, Ct.) was the last player who wore it, and he was also one of the better players in the team's short history.
When the Spirit closed up shop after the 2000 season, they put all of their jerseys up for sale for pretty cheap, so I was able to get this for only $50. I still remember the day I went to pick up the jersey at the team office inside Municipal Stadium, mostly because I felt kinda sad that the team wasn't going to be around anymore.
Bridgeport Bluefish ’00-’01 #29 Dave Swanson jersey
I bid on this jersey at a post-game silent auction, not actually thinking I'd win it. Apparently there weren't a lot of bids, so here it is-- a testament to my incredible bidding luck.
Another lefty pitcher, Dave Swanson's main claim to fame is that he was a throw-in in to trade that sent Bret Saberhagen from the Mets to the Colorado Rockies. Besides that, he's also a Ct. native and a former Waterbury Spirit player, which means he should practically be on the Municipal Stadium Wall of Fame right now, if it hasn't already been flooded by the Naugatuck River or plowed under to make room for another Dunkin' Donuts.
*Baseball jerseys are also 100% polyester-- there's no cotton on a baseball diamond!-- so remember that the next time you're tempted to buy one of those cotton t-shirts that only looks like a jersey.