Hello, friends. Collecting jerseys has become some weird sort of hobby for me. I won’t say I’ve been immune to the many bootleg jerseys floating around, but I’ve noticed that while the quantity of these fakes has increased, the quality has severely decreased. I’ve seen all but the last jersey on this page at Petco Park, and I can’t ever figure out why. At this point, these bootlegs are selling on eBay or superhappyfuntotallyauthenticsportjerseysite.com for $50-100. You can buy a “replica” jersey for around those prices.
Perhaps we would see fewer of these jerseys if MLB.com offered authentic lettering on replica jerseys. Let the quality of the authentic jerseys (and yes, they are much nicer) up-sell themselves. While the money from merchandise doesn’t go directly to each individual club, the bootlegs support something perhaps more sinister than Major League Baseball. And you look like a turd, usually.
Now, I know I have pay attention to weird details. And, sometimes, it’s pretty annoying. Is this the case, here? I’m open to the idea. I will list each jersey exactly how it was listed on the bootleg jersey websites, or on eBay. Let’s take a look at some of China’s finest work, okay? We’ll rate how ashamed you should be to own each of these jerseys on a scale of 1-10.
Let’s start off with this cap:
MLB San Diego Padres Authentic 2012 Road Cool Base Blank Jersey Gray
Authentic pictured above, as displayed at Padres.com. Gray, SAN DIEGO, pretty simple. It’s a road jersey. We’re not here to debate the aesthetics of the uniform, so we’ll just say it makes sense.
This is the bootleg version. SANDIEGO. It looks a little ridiculous, the “DIEGO” half of “SANDIEGO” is lower, and finishes at a bit of a different angle. Though, are we nitpicking? Most people aren’t going to notice, so we’ll give this one somewhat of a pass.
Shame score: 3
MLB San Diego Padres Authentic 1984 Tony Gwynn #19 Throwback Jersey White
Authentic pictured above, as featured at MitchellandNess.com. Classic, iconic look of our first divisional and National League championship team. A thing of beauty.
I’ve seen these jerseys in person, and not only is the coloring way off, but the material is textured! Spot on, bootleggers. I fondly recall the 1984 season, when my Padres made a remarkable run to the World Series in their berber carpet uniforms. Convenient is the clothing you can simply vacuum.
And for added authenticity, we’ll just haphazardly place the letters on the front. Even still, if you disregard the incorrect colors, the odd letter arrangement, and the surplus yellow-orange flooring used for the lettering…I suppose it’s a reasonable facsimile. Not a pass, but an “eh”.
Shame score: 5 on looks, 7 because this is THE iconic Padres jersey. You really should know better.
MLB San Diego Padres Authentic 1989 Roberto Alomar #12 Throwback Jersey White
MLB San Diego Padres Authentic 1989 Tony Gwynn #19 Throwback Jersey White
Tony Gwynn, pictured above in 1989. Interlocking SD, I once saw a man at Angels Stadium wearing this jersey with “Wynne 16” on the back. What I wouldn’t give to have that specific jersey. Lucky guy.
The first thing you’ll notice is that interlocking “SD” is small. Real small. And where the original is blocked, the “D” is rounded on this one. Another thing you’ll notice is that this shirt is white, where the authentic would be more of a mix between tan and gray. Not quite the sand of a few years ago (RIP), but not gray.
You may recognize this jersey, as it was featured over at Lobshots last August. Yes, that may look like the famous “Rawlings” logo on the sleeve, but it actually says “Radres”. Seriously, go take a look at Brady’s post. He has plenty of close-up shots of this nonsense. And root, root, root for the Radres.
The name and number look pretty crummy up close, but from a distance it looks reasonably close to the original.
Shame score: 7, for Radres. The guy who told Brady it was a fancy P gets a 15.
MLB San Diego Padres Authentic Heath Bell #21 Road Cool Base Jersey Gray
Pictured above at Padres.com, Padres Public favorite Will Venable models the 2012 road jersey.
Now we’re heading downhill.
This looks like someone snuck a pattern out of the factory, removed the wrinkled item from their pockets, and went to town tracing. Looking at their handiwork, they were satisfied. It may not look 100%, but effort is what matters. And hey, maybe the faint smell of gasoline (you ever smell one of these bootleg jerseys? Yeesh.) will distract the buyer. Since this looks like a child was responsible for it, from design to construction, you shouldn’t have gotten that far.
I get this. I really do. Who wants the name and number in the middle of the jersey? Why be like everyone else? March to the beat of your own drum, sports fan.
Shame score: 8. Come on.
Padres DAVE WINFIELD 1978 Cooperstown Authentic Throwback
Authentic 1978 Dave Winfield jersey, as featured on mitchellandness.com
It’s like they took the 1989 home jersey into Photoshop and used the paint bucket a bunch of times, as opposed to just picking up the 90s logo. It kept bleeding over, and eventually someone said “YEP, LOOKS GOOD TO ME!” Aside from looking like garbage, THIS UNIFORM IS NOT FROM 1978! The only possible moment Dave Winfield wore this uniform was for some bizarre photo op after the Padres paid him to be their first Hall of Famer. I would guess there’s roughly a 1% chance this ever happened.
Shame score: 10. If you un-ironically own this jersey, turn in your badge. Or membership card. Do we have those, yet?
MLB San Diego Padres Authentic 1987 Tony Gwynn #19 Throwback Jersey White
Authentic, as presented at mitchellandness.com
Let’s talk, Padres fans. Over the past few seasons, I’ve seen this jersey floating around Petco Park. A lot. I get not wanting to spend $300 on a jersey. Really, I do. On the other hand, this isn’t even a reasonable bootleg. This looks like the pattern was based on a description, set aside for a few days, a head injury was sustained, some carburetor cleaner was huffed, and the person returned to finally create the pattern. There’s no reason to own this jersey. I’ll save you $50-100: find a 5-year-old, give them brown and orange markers, a white shirt, and describe this logo to them. It won’t look any worse.
Shame score: 50
This isn’t funny anymore. Seriously, bootleggers, YOU’RE NOT EVEN TRYING!
Oh, fuck you.
You may be asking yourself “how do I avoid mistakenly buying these jerseys?” My first tip would be to avoid buying jerseys on eBay where the prices sound too good to be true. Second would be to use your eyes. Most of these look like crap, to be honest. Not all of them do, though. Ever see those sweet, sewn 1984 Dan Fouts or Kellen Winslow Chargers jerseys all around San Diego? Look pretty good, right? Bootlegs. The Chargers used heavy screened lettering on their jerseys in 1984. It’s similar to the screened lettering on “replica” NFL jerseys, but it’s way thicker. Definitely meant to take a beating on the football field.
Another weird phenomenon is the number of officially licensed, third-party jerseys the Padres have available. I wanted to include them, but I don’t want to write a book. At least they’re licensed?
The Vocal Minority is Nate and myself. We’re here every Monday, until the rapture. Actually, we’ll still be here. Follow me on Twitter @VocalMinoritySD