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My obscure jersey lineup is ready

 

May 5, 2019



Buying a specific player’s jersey has rarely worked out well for me.

Steve Smith, traded. LeBron James, free agency. Ian Kinsler, traded. Tim Duncan, washed it and didn’t check a pair of pants for that red pen.

My luck may change, as a friend basically told me we should not fear a departure but celebrate it.

“If you were to purchase an obscure jersey, that only super sports nerds would understand, what would you get?”

Non-sports nerds, nobody will blame you if you stop right here. Thanks for reading.

He suggested a Brett Hull Phoenix Coyotes jersey. Most hockey fans remember Hull’s 86-goal season with St. Louis or his Stanley Cup with Dallas. They don’t remember Hull quitting six games into his final season after realizing he “didn’t have what it took” at age 41.

It didn’t have to be a “last team he played for” jersey, necessarily. It just had to be obscure for some reason. I asked if we were just talking hockey, because sometimes that stuff is too obscure for even me. Any sport is fine, he said.

We never picked a winner, but we did create a pretty good finalist pool:

n Rasheed Wallace, Atlanta Hawks. Wallace was traded from the Portland Trailblazers in 2004, and it was no secret he was going to be dealt again by the end of the week. Still, Wallace suited up in a No. 36 jersey and posted a 20-point, six-rebound, five-block masterpiece in a loss to the New Jersey Nets. The next morning, he was traded to Detroit where he became part of the most unlikely champion in NBA history.

n Jerry Rice, Denver Broncos. The greatest 49er of them all had spent his dwindling years with the Raiders and the Seahawks, and retired after a handful of preseason games when he learned he’d be no higher than fourth on the Denver wide receiver depth chart.

n John Kruk, Chicago White Sox. Some fans might remember the longtime Philadelphia Phillie as one of baseball’s greatest characters, who allegedly told a fan, “I ain’t an athlete, I’m a baseball player.” In his 45th game as a White Sock(?), he delivered a base hit that raised his career average to .300, got pulled for a pinch runner, packed up his locker and drove home.

n Chicago Bulls, No. 12. Michael Jordan had to wear a nameless No. 12 jersey one night in Orlando because a fan managed to sneak in the locker room and steal his No. 23. A picture featuring Jordan made it into Orlando guard Sam Vincent’s 1990-91 NBA Hoops trading card. The card company issued a different Vincent card because it was Michael Jordan in the wrong jersey.

n Dontrelle Willis, Cincinnati Reds. The power pitcher came into injury problems after his glory years with the Florida Marlins. He technically retired in the Milwaukee Brewers organization on a minor league contract, but he went 1-6 in 13 games with the Reds in the 2011 season.

We did have one disagreement, when it came to NBA players having brief minor league stints. He thought it was odd, but I didn’t think a rehab assignment merited an obscure jersey.

So that’s our All-Obscure Team. Maybe throw in a Jose Canseco Rangers jersey or an Orlando Magic Dominique Wilkins jersey.

Just don’t throw in a pen when you do laundry.

Kevin Wilson is editor of The Eastern New Mexico News. Contact him at:

[email protected]

 
 

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