From time to time, I’ll be sifting through eBay to compile the most interesting, oddest, and useless items related to Baltimore sports. Welcome to the first edition of the Great Baltimore Yard Sale. Buyer beware.
Before we get to some of the gems, let’s take a moment and reflect on what passes for team-branded memorabilia these days. The major sports leagues will license out their logos and colors to virtually any company that makes anything. They have absolutely no standards when it comes to this, leading to a market flooded with endless tchotchkes that roll off an assembly line in China and end up in a giant landfill in New Jersey within 11 months.
When I was growing up, there were four things you could get. One, you bought cards, because that was like investing in your future (because my Rafael Palmeiro rookie card is worth thousands today), AND you were creating a barter economy to use with other kids. Topps was the Gold Standard for 9-year olds in 1992. Second, you could get mini-helmets, and if you were really lucky, a larger mini-helmet you could eat frozen yogurt out of. Mini-helmets require care and patience, which is why all of mine ended up cracked in a drawer. Third, you could get pennants, which serve so little purpose and feel about as antiquated as a big waxy mustache and those pillbox baseball hats. Lastly, you could get Starting Lineup action figures. These were amazing. If you had the discipline to keep them in the box (again, none of mine made it more than 30 seconds without being unboxed), they’d probably be worth a little cash today.
Now, there’s this endless marketplace of branded crap. If you can dream it, they can put a Ravens logo on it. So this is my plea to you: please, stop dreaming it. As you can see, it’s getting out of hand.
Baltimore Ravens Babydoll Teddy Set (Slightly NSFW) ($35.50)
Let’s just get this out of the way now. Ladies, please do not waste your money, effort, or dignity on team-themed lingerie. There are times when I want to be reminded of Cam Cameron’s offense and the goofy Poe mascot and times I don’t. Thank god this is not listed “used.”
Baltimore Ravens “Cleatus” Fox Sports Robot Action Figure ($31.49)
This little guy seems out of place for several reasons. The thing that bothers me the most is that there is an AFC team version of the Fox robot, because the Ravens and most AFC teams rarely find their way onto Fox. It also bothers me that some idiot Fox exec digs his heels in year after year to keep the robot on the broadcast because he’s under the impression that America has a loving relationship with these “icons” of sports. Why is his name Cleatus, anyway? Isn’t that the name of a moonshiner, not a robot capable of being a 3-4 end?
Baltimore Orioles Tissue Box ($2.95)
Oh, well done. Too bad I don’t have any tears left for the Birds. Buy a box of these and save them for the tears of elation when the O’s finish a season over .500.
Baltimore Ravens Leather Checkbook Holder ($26.83)
Now you can be just like Steve Biscotti and use this to not sign any big free agents!
Rick Kranitz 2008 Game Worn Pants ($19.99)
For a cool twenty bones, you too can walk a mile in the pants that orchestrated a 5.13 team ERA. Related to this auction is about 50 more that are all Orioles game-worn pants from the late 90s and 00s. I really don’t want to know the circumstances under which this seller acquired all these pants, or what they paid for them.
Baltimore Claws Throwback Jersey ($9.99)
I actually own a t-shirt with the Baltimore Claws logo on it, which made me look into just what exactly the Baltimore Claws were. Turns out, they were supposed to open the 1975 season as an ABA expansion team, played three exhibition games, then folded before the season started due to financial problems. It appears they tried to pinch pennies by printing the smallest letters on their team jerseys ever.
Baltimore Ravens Youth Medium Replica Jersey – USED ($6.99)
Because if there’s one thing kids in 2011 love, it’s Elvis Grbac. Not to be outdone, here’s a used Tony Banks jersey in youth large. And an adult XL Eric Zeier jersey. Okay that I might actually buy.
Baltimore Orioles Albert Belle Jersey – USED ($9.99)
Another great one for the kids.
Chris Hoiles Catching Helmet (current bid $199.99)
Okay this is actually pretty awesome, especially if, as the seller claims, he picked it up at spring training in the early 90s. I stopped playing catcher at age 17 right as these hockey-style helmets and Knee Savers came into common practice. I feel like I worked at Apple right before the iPod. I’d be able to go up stairs without a weird painful clicking if I had played during the Knee Savers era.
Baltimore Ravens Forest Face ($25.14)
Well, that’s just plain horrifying. If you’re a serial killer who operates primarily out of the woods…AND loves the purple and black, boy do I have a stocking stuffer for you!
Dave Gilmore lives in Baltimore, works for a sports-oriented non-profit, and writes “The Win Column” for Baltimore Sports Report. He is currently working on a novel about college football. Find him on Twitter @dave_gilmore or visit his web site at davegilmorejr.com