one of the reasons, the main one in fact, that i have a mini-collection of armbands and memorial patches stems from my curiosity regarding the examples i saw in the 1978 topps set. the rangers, cubs, and brewers each wore black armbands (the rangers added a black number 4) during the 1977 season, and so there were many cards in the '78 set that displayed the memorials. i didn't know why these elements were added to their uniforms, and my dad suggested that they were recognizing the passing of someone.
then, when jim gilliam died late in the 1978 season and the dodgers wore a patch in his honor, i was hoping that a 1979 topps card might show the memorial. of course, topps did not issue postseason cards in 1979, and so i was out of luck as far as the gilliam patch was concerned until the 2000's when a few images made it on to cardboard. i did, however, look for cards showing other memorials, and my curiosity remains. i regularly take notice of these things when watching a game or flipping through cards. now, thanks to the internet, it is a lot easier to determine why teams are wearing certain patches, for which i am grateful.
during the 2018 season, there were a few teams that wore memorial patches. i've already shown the cubs and marlins with their opening day patch honoring the victims of the school shooting at marjory stoneman douglas, as well as the umpire memorials, but i'll document the others here, hopefully with examples of the memorials on cardboard.
the padres honored both kevin towers and rob picciolo with a patch on their right sleeves during their game on may 12. i watched this game and was pleased when eric hosmer ended the game with a walk-off hit because i knew that topps would produce a 'now' card the next day. i was in luck when they chose an image that showed the patch clearly
so i bought the card for my collection. towers was their general manager, and picciolo was a long-time coach with the organization.
the brewers wore a patch during a single home series in june for former player, coach, and broadcaster dave nelson. there's a topps now card that shows the patch a bit (it's on the right sleeve - mostly visible on number 14's jersey)
the blue jays have worn a '32' patch on their jerseys all year in honor of roy halladay.
josh donaldson's 2018 topps chrome prism refractor shows the patch on the left sleeve, while j.a. happ's 2018 topps update card shows the patch on his left chest
the patch moved to the chest for the little league classic game (there's another topps now card that i did not bother with) and the all-star game, as seen on jacob degrom's 2018 topps update card
sadly, it looks like there will be a willie mccovey patch on the giants' unis next season, so i'll be on the lookout for a card to represent 'stretch' in my collection as well. i saw mccovey and the giants play the dodgers a couple of times during mccovey's final seasons. we always got there early for batting practice, and i can still remember how hard he hit the ball.