The Fightins'
Pete Rose, Mike Schmidt, and the Death of the Iron-On Decal
Posted by at 4:08 pm ET 4 Comments
Pete Rose Iron On Mike Schmidt Iron On

It’s an off-day for the Phillies, but instead of letting that drag me down, I take it as an opportunity to go digging in the vault, my disorganized stack of boxes and bags filled with delightful baseball things.

As I’ve mentioned previously, my father-in-law, J.R., has been a major contributor to my hobby/compulsion. The last pile of newspaper clippings he brought over was very Mike Schmidt- and Pete Rose-heavy, being Inquirers and Daily Newses from the early 1980s.

Today’s edition of The Vault finds us browsing the Philly papers in August 1981. The Phillies had only just started playing after the end of the strike “the owners provoked” that snipped over a third of the season (June 12-August 9) out of the schedule, when the Daily News and Inquirer printed these two unusual promotions over the next couple of weeks.

I guess it’s true that the attention span of people was completely different 30 years ago, because this seems time-consuming and needlessly convoluted, but hey, free ticket!  What you’re looking at are two iron-on decals (click each image to enlarge) that were printed in a regular old newspaper. The Pete Rose came from the Friday, August 14, 1981 edition of the Philadelphia Daily News, and the Mike Schmidt is from the Tuesday, August 25, 1981 edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer. They are printed with a special (or perhaps merely extra) ink and instructions on how to transfer the decal to a t-shirt and how to use it to get a free ticket.

Maybe someone out there followed the 10 steps and can tell me if it worked, and if your shirt impressed your friends, but I’m dubious. The first 200 people to do it and make their way to Window F at Veterans Stadium while wearing the decal were rewarded with a free ticket. Everybody 201 and beyond got the chump discount, a $5 ticket for $2.50.

Now, if you wear the Pete Rose decal and get your free August 26 (Braves@Phillies) ticket, but it gets rained out, you can use that ticket for September 9 (Expos@Phillies). The Mike Schmidt decal is good for the same day as the Pete Rose rain date game, and its rain date game is for September 29 (Mets@Phillies). But the decal for the Mike Schmidt decal September 9 game didn’t hit the newspaper stands until the day before the Pete Rose decal game! I’m not smart enough to piece it all together, but I’m just going to assume that my confusion is a result of the deliberate, conniving cheapskates running baseball trying to screw people out of getting too many free tickets. Maybe. I think I need a nap.

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Proprietor of The Fightins as well as the baseball .GIF overflow tank BALLGAMERS, Tug is also the producer/co-host of The PhoulBallz Podcast with Jay Floyd and staff photographer at City of Basketball Love. His love is divided three ways between his wife, dog, and sandwiches.

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R.I.P Harry Kalas