Welcome to The Vault, the weekly blog post that takes a look back at some of the best (and worst) jerseys throughout sports history. Each week, a classic set of threads each from the sports of football, basketball, hockey, baseball, and soccer will be revisited.
All submissions are welcome by messaging @tftb_smalls on IG.
Football: Philadelphia Eagles DE Reggie White
Our first entry in the St. Patty’s Day edition of the Vault belonged to NFL legend Reggie White. White began his professional career with the USFL’s Memphis Showboats after becoming an All-American at the University of Tennessee. After two seasons in the USFL, he was acquired by the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFL Supplemental Draft. He went on to be the 1987 Defensive Player of the Year after recording 21 sacks. White later went on to play for the Green Bay Packers and Carolina Panthers. In his 15 year career, he was a 13-time Pro Bowler and, at one time, held the NFL record for all-time sacks. After he passed away at age 43, he was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2006. White is one of the best players to ever wear the green Birds jersey in Philly, and if you were to go to the City of Brotherly Love on St. Patty’s Day (or any Eagles game day, really), you’ll for sure see it everywhere you look.
Basketball: New York Knicks F Carmelo Anthony
Our basketball jersey for this week’s edition of the Vault is the St. Patrick’s Day New York Knicks jersey worn by Carmelo Anthony. After winning the 2003 National Championship while at Syracuse, Melo was taken by the Denver Nuggets in the 2003 NBA Draft. While in Denver, the Nuggets made the playoffs every year from 2004 to 2010, including a Western Conference Finals appearance in 2009. After being traded to the New York Knicks in 2011, Anthony scored a career-high 62 points against the Charlotte Bobcats, which also set the single-game scoring record at Madison Square Garden. After having a shaky relationship with team president Phil Jackson, Melo was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2017 offseason. The Knicks have been known to don their green jerseys on St. Patrick’s Day, and it will most likely be a very popular choice in bars and pubs on March 17th.
Hockey: Hartford Whalers C Ron Francis
The hockey jersey featured this week is probably one of my favorite jerseys included in the Vault thus far. The Hartford Whalers were originally based in Boston, but moved to Hartford, Connecticut in 1974 and joined the NHL in the 1979 NHL-WHA merger. In 1997, the franchise moved to North Carolina and became the Carolina Hurricanes. Ron Francis was drafted by the Whalers in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft. Known for his maturity both on the ice and in the community, Francis instantly became a fan-favorite in Hartford. He went on to become one of the youngest NHL captains ever at age 22, and backed it up with his play. Francis was later traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1990-91 season, and ended up elevating his game to a new level while playing alongside legends Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr. He was an important piece in the back-to-back Stanley Cup-winning seasons in Pittsburgh, and was also named the team’s captain in 1994-95 when Lemieux had to miss time due to injury. By the time he retired in 2005, Francis was a four-time All Star, two-time Stanley Cup winner, and came in at #2 on the all-time NHL assist list. The green Whalers jerseys are considered one of the best in NHL history, due to the clean and simple logo, as well as the crisp color scheme. And since the team no longer exists, wearing a Hartford sweater on St. Patrick’s Day would for sure get someone a “sick jersey” comment or two out at the bar.
Baseball: Oakland Athletics LF Rickey Henderson
This week’s baseball entry belonged to the man who many consider the best baserunner in MLB history, Rickey Henderson. The “Man of Steal” was drafted in the fourth round of the 1976 draft by the Oakland Athletics, and made his major league debut in 1979. Henderson went on to set the record for both stolen bases (1,406) and runs scored (2,295). He’s also the only player in AL history to steal at least 100 bases, and he did it three times. Henderson was so good on the base pads that he ranked in the top ten in stolen bases in 21 of his major league seasons. By the time he retired in 2003, Henderson had won two World Series, the 1990 AL MVP, twelve stolen base titles, and ranked in the top 100 in all-time home runs. I love the old-fashioned pull-over baseball jerseys through the 70’s and 80’s, and there weren’t many that wore them better than Rickey Henderson. While these might not be the most popular pick at the bar on St. Patty’s Day, it’s an iconic green jersey that would be a heater for March 17th.
Soccer: Liverpool M Steve McManaman
Our final jersey to make it in the St. Patty’s edition of the Vault belonged to Liverpool legend Steve McManaman. McManaman is considered one of the most successful English players to ever play abroad. During his nine seasons at Liverpool, he was massively successful, scoring 46 goals in 272 matches. He won an FA Cup and a League Cup, and held the record for the most assists in Liverpool history until 2011. He would later be transferred to Spanish power Real Madrid in 1999 after a controversial end to his Liverpool stint. In Madrid, McManaman became the first English player to win the UEFA Champions League on a non-English team, and then became the first English player to win the Champions League twice. The 1995-96 Liverpool green away kits are perfect for St. Patty’s Day festivities, especially with the Carlsberg beer sponsor on the front. Plus, it has that classic Adidas 90’s look that I absolutely love.
Toronto Maple Leafs 2018 “St. Pats” Jerseys
Pittsburgh Pirates CF Andrew McCutchen St. Patrick’s Day Jersey
Notre Dame RB Jerome Bettis 1992 Sugar Bowl Jersey
If you have any jerseys that you’d like to see on the Vault, please feel free to message @tftb_smalls on Instagram. Input is always welcome.