Schwartz: Sports Jerseys Are Tough These Days

For those who know me, I’m not breaking any news when I say that I own a lot of sports jerseys. My closet is filled with all kinds of jerseys..replica and authentic, my favorite teams and players, and some unique ones as well. Some of them don’t fit anymore but I’ve already started passing some of them down to my kids.

I’ve enjoyed collecting each and every one of them and I still get a jersey here and a jersey there these days. But collecting jerseys in 2019 is a lot different than it was years ago.

Now with two boys who like wearing jerseys as well, my wife and I are often presented with some challenges when it comes to buying jerseys. First of all, the prices of these jerseys have become astronomical…even the replicas! Also, players move around so much these days so you could buy your child a jersey with a name on it and just like that the player is traded or leaves as a free agent.

You don’t know what it was like to be in our house the day that John Tavares left the Islanders for the Maple Leafs. My younger son Jared was in tears and his John Tavares jersey now sits in a box with other Tavares souvenirs. Personally, I stopped buying “new” player jerseys when the Islanders traded Pierre Turgeon. I had just bought the jersey and now all of a sudden it’s obsolete.

What I like to do these days is get some jerseys blank with no number on it or just with my own name and number on it. After all, I can’t be traded!

My kids are actually cool with blanks and they have a few like that but remember they’re still growing so it’s okay to take a risk on a jersey with a player on it if you’re sure he’s going to be around for a year or two. Eventually, you’re child is going to grow out of the jersey anyway and also somewhere down the road, that you might get an opportunity to have that player sign the jersey so it becomes a real collectible!

Throwback jerseys are also a good way to add to your collection without much risk. You could pick a great player of the past from one of your favorite teams or maybe you want a jersey from a Hall of Famer to display in your home. They can be pricey but at least you are making the choice of player and it’s not a current player that can be traded.

Looking for bargains is something to think about as well.

I just bought my son a Sam Darnold Jets jersey at Modells for $20! Why was it so inexpensive? The Jets are going to have new jerseys next season so now you can find the current/old ones for a reduced price. You could also try some of those foreign websites that sell knock off jerseys. My wife bought me an awesome Mike Bossy All-Star throwback jersey for Hanukkah and a number of people came up to me to ask about it at a recent Islanders game.

But you do have to be careful with some of these websites. Sometimes the jersey you get in the mail isn’t what you saw on the site and could be very different from the real thing. The shipping can also be high unless you buy multiple jerseys. Sometimes you can see right on the website that it’s going to look different than one you would buy in a store or directly from a team or league. The bottom line is that you could get a $200 jersey for $30 or $40 as long as you’re willing to accept it for what it is.

I still love wearing jerseys as much as I did when I was a kid. There’s something really cool about wearing the same jersey as your favorite player or just a player on your favorite team. But you just have to be a good consumer and price things around. Jerseys have really become expensive these days and sometimes you have to do your homework before getting your credit card out.

Collecting jerseys is a great hobby but it’s also a challenging one.

About the Author

Peter Schwartz

Peter Schwartz is a contributor covering the Islanders for NY Sports Day while also writing about general sports in the New York/New Jersey area. In addition to his column, Peter also hosts his “Schwartz On Sports” podcast as he interviews players, coaches, and other sports personalities. He is also currently a sports anchor for WFAN Radio, CBS Sports Radio, and WCBS 880 radio while also serving as the public address announcer for the New York Cosmos soccer club.

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