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Numbers are funny, and I’m not even a mathematician. All teams have their distinct fonts that have subtleties that someone in my position needs to be on the lookout for. For example, where exactly do A’s, C’s and patches go on a team’s jersey? How far apart should numbers be? And is there an upside and a downside to the number 8?

23 Sep 2001: Cal Ripken Jr. #8 of the Baltimore Orioles is congratulated by teammates and coach Terry Crowley after Ripken hit a sacrifice fly to score Chris Richard and give the Orioles a 2-0 fourth inning lead over the New York Yankees at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland.<> Mandatory Credit: Doug Pensinger/ALLSPORT

That last one is tricky because some teams have a wider gap on the bottom of an 8 that can easily be missed by a heat presser. I inspect every pro jersey that comes out of production to make sure everything is done correctly, and I especially look out for the 8’s.

The Baltimore Orioles could have used someone like me during the late ’90s and early 2000s because 8’s were leaving their customizers any way but sideways! My favourite Oriole happened to wear the #8, and I have always put the 8’s on correctly until I came across a blank Orioles Ripken’s last game jersey. Of course, I’m putting the Iron Man on that jersey!

Unfortunately for me, when Cal took the field on October 6, 2001, his front 8 was upside down… so I had to do the same on my jersey. Upside down 8 all the way, and I feel good about it.

My jersey looks just like the one Cal wore during his last bat as a Major League Baseball player. It was a special night, he was a special player with a special detail that I was able to capture.


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