Mike Hawkins was an important part of
the Gamblers defensive unit both years of the team's existence. Along with fellow linebacker and brother Andy, Mike
helped to provide a physical second line of defense. Before joining the Gamblers, Mike played for the New England Patriots
(1978-81) and Los Angeles Raiders (1982).
This home black jersey was dirty and smelly when it entered my collection. One washing later, this gem looks
good as new. A lack of wear on the numerals, as well as the absence of team repairs, leads to the obvious conclusion
that this jersey saw light action.
A second rear view of the jersey. Notice
the name on back is off-centered above the rear numbers. A possible clue when researching the game where this jersey was worn?
Numbers were applied on Gamblers jerseys
in two seperate layers -- the red color first, and the white color second. Often, Gamblers jerseys can be identified
in game video when the red number trim is not perfectly aligned with the inner white color. In the case of this Mike
Hawkins jersey, every number on the front, back and sleeves is aligned perfectly... Finding the game where this
jersey saw action will not be easy.
True Gamblers gamers have a tag similar
to this one (a few have an extra "100% Nylon" flag attached to the bottom of the Russell tag). Russell Athletic
manufactured all Gamblers team jerseys, and a tag similar to the one pictured should be found sewn onto the front left tail,
affixed with white thread. Interestingly, this jersey was factory-fitted with spandex sides, making the jersey much tighter
than a size 48.
A view of the lower front of the jersey.
These six buttons are here to hold a "crotch piece" in place. A crotch piece is a long strip of fabric
that hangs down from the rear tail of a jersey, and is pulled between the player's legs and fastened to the front
of the jersey with buttons. This keeps the jersey tight against the player's body, as well as tucked into the pants.
All the Gamblers jerseys I have seen have
regular-length sleeves (not the short ones like players wear today). Players could still wear the sleeves short and tight,
however, by tying a series of grommets together with string. Most Gambler lineman and linebacker jerseys are found with these
holes, which go hand in hand with spandex sides and spandex strips on the bottoms of the sleeves.
Here's a closeup photo of a sleeve.
Notice the grommets across the bottom, as well as the sleeve stripes. We should note that on the sleeve stripes
the white color was applied first and the red color second -- the exact opposite of the numbers. According to Gamblers Assistant
Equipment Manager Albert Veytia, Russell shipped blank shirts with the sleeve stripes already added. A local Houston branch
of Oshman's Sporting Goods would screen the jersey numbers and nameplates per the team's request.
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