Thursday, April 2, 2020

2019 memorial patches

there were some passings of prominent baseball people prior to and during the 2019 season which resulted in memorial patches (and an armband) to be worn by various teams and umpires.  i've been tracking down cards to represent these memorials for my collection (if you are wondering why i do such a thing, here's a post that explains it).

first off, dodger legend don newcombe died on february 10, 2019.  he had been with the organization for a total of 61 years, first as a player and later as an executive. he overcame addiction to become a force within the organization for player relations and community outreach.  i saw him in the dodger stadium lot after a game in the early 1990's, but unfortunately chose not to approach him. i would have liked to have said hello and maybe ask him for a story from his brooklyn days.

in newcombe's honor, the dodgers wore a "newk 36" patch on their right sleeves all season, as seen on this 2019 topps triple threads cody bellinger card:
they moved it to the left sleeve on jackie robinson day, as i showed on a 2019 topps now joc pederson card earlier in the year.

hall of famer frank robinson passed away three days before newcombe's death, and most of the teams that he was affiliated with paid tribute. first, the reds, for whom robinson played from 1956 to 1965 (winning a triple crown along the way), wore a patch with his number 20 displayed on their chests.  this 2019 topps now nick senzel card shows the patch nicely.
i believe the reds wore this patch only on their home whites, which excluded their litany of throwback unis worn during the season.

i don't believe that the giants, for whom robinson managed, wore a patch in his honor, but they did wear a patch in honor of another hall of famer - willie mccovey - who passed away on october 31, 2018.  they also wore a patch for former owner peter mcgowan who died on january 27, 2019.  the mcgowan patch was rectangular and simply said "peter", while mccovey's patch was circular and said "stretch 44".  the patches were worn stacked on the right sleeve, as shown in this 2019 topps total mike yastrzemski card:
during the all-star game, the patches were relocated to the left chest, as shown on this 2019 topps update will smith card:
the orioles also wore patches for frank robinson.  his number 20 adorned their right sleeves during the season as seen on this 2020 topps heritage hanser alberto card:
but was also present on their left chest during some spring training games as evidenced by this 2019 topps fire jonathan villar card:
the patch also showed up on the left chest for the all-star game, and i'll show a card that proves this a little later on.

finally, the indians, for whom robinson became player-manager in 1974 (the first african-american manager to boot), also wore a number 20 patch to honor him.  they wore the patch only on opening day, and so i was excited to find a card showing the patch.  here's mike clevinger's 2020 topps stadium club card:
showing the patch on his right sleeve.

mel stottlemyre was a yankee player, scout, coach, and executive. after he died on january 13, 2019, the yankees announced that they would wear a black armband in his honor.  the black armband has become the standard yankee memorial in recent years, but it remains to be seen if they will go back to the number memorials for any of their more prominent alumni in the future.  anyway, here's a 2019 topps total troy tulowitzki card
that features the armband prominently. i went with tulo because there is no doubt that this card features the 2019 armband that way.

later in the season, the rays wore a patch for their inagural owner vince naimoli, who died on august 25, 2019.  these late season patches are not necessarily guaranteed to show up on cardboard, but tommy pham's heroics on september 2nd netted this 2019 topps now card that just happens to show the patch:

the phillies also added a patch to their right sleeves during the season, as seen on this 2019 topps update bryce harper perennial all-star insert
the "dpm" patch is in honor of david p. montgomery, a former president and minority owner of the club who died on may 8, 2019.

mlb umpires also mourned the passing of one of their own.  jim mckean, a 30-year veteran, died on january 24, 2019.  as a result, all umpires wore a square "jm" patch on their left sleeves all season. they later added an "ec" patch during the world series for eric cooper who passed away on october 20, 2019, as you can see on this 2020 topps stadium club michael brantley card:
you can see the "jm" patch on aaron judge's 2020 topps heritage card:
and (barely) on this 2019 topps update charlie blackmon card:

it's there on the left sleeve below the all-star game patch. more noticeable, however, is the "45" patch on the right chest of umpire mark wegner.  that patch was worn in honor of angel pitcher tyler skaggs who died on july 1, 2019 as a result of an accidental overdose.

pretty much everyone at the all-star game honored skaggs.  while it's not a true memorial, mike trout wore skaggs' number 45 during the game as seen on his 2019 topps update card:

most teams added the patch to their right chests.  take a look:

atlanta braves:

colorado rockies:
miami marlins:
milwaukee brewers:
new york mets:

philadelphia phillies:
pittsburgh pirates:
baltimore orioles:
(there's the orioles' robinson patch moved to the left chest)

boston red sox:
chicago white sox:

cleveland indians:

francisco lindor chose to add the patch to his hat.

houston astros:
minnesota twins:
new york yankees:
i'll keep an eye out for other examples, as well as for cards featuring the same patch that was worn by all teams during "players' weekend" with those all-black and all-white uniforms, like this 2020 topps buster posey photo variation card.
finally, the angels added a different patch to their uniforms for skaggs.  you can see it on this 2019 bowman's best griffin canning card
the "skaggs 45" patch is similar to others that the angels have worn in recent years, and it replaced the black "45" patch that they wore on july 2nd, the day after skaggs' passing
on july 12, the team all wore skaggs' jersey with no patch, and the game resulted in a combined no-hitter.  2020 topps big league celebrated that feat with a highlights card
that i've added to my memorials collection.  you will notice that catcher dustin garneau has the patch on his chest protector, but the other players are wearing skaggs jerseys.

 baseball reference recorded approximately 100 former players and managers who passed away in 2019, and (as i type this in early march of 2020) 16 so far in 2020. i know the royals will be wearing a patch for former owner david glass, but it remains to be seen if don larsen or ron fairly or tony fernandez or some other player, manager, announcer, or executive will receive a memorial in 2020.


  1. My eyes are so bad... I couldn't spot half of these patches. After reading your comment on my post a few days ago... I knew, you must have killer eye sight.

    1. my eyes immediately go to sleeves when i'm watching games. the hall of fame keeps up pretty well with a list of patches, too.

  2. Somber topic but great mini-collection! Can't imagine many cards display a patch more prominently than that Heritage Hanser Alberto.

    1. i had a different card for that patch, but when i saw the alberto, i had to add it. patch front and center!

  3. That's some great eagle-eyework there. Nice work. I actually forgot that McCovey had passed away, and he's one of my all-timers; I saw him on a couple of recent opening days and it felt like he was still with us.