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Old 01-21-2019, 03:09 PM
Jackknifed Juggernaut Jackknifed Juggernaut is offline
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"Property of..." team clothing

When I was young, my parents bought me a tee-shirt that said "Property of The New York Yankees". These are common, and I think most sports fans own or at least have seen something similar on sports attire.

Being a huge Yankee fan, I didn't think about the underlying meaning at the time.

Now I wonder, is it supposed to mean that the tee-shirt, hoodie, etc. belongs to the sports team, or does it mean that the individual wearing it is claimed by or contracted with that team?
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Old 01-21-2019, 03:31 PM
F. U. Shakespeare F. U. Shakespeare is offline
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I always assumed it a tongue-in-cheek way to make the clothing appear more authentic, albeit in a tongue-in-cheek way. I.e., any schlep could buy a shirt bearing the Yankees logo. But official clothing issued and owned by the team could only be obtained by someone actually associated with the team. Well, them, and thieves.
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Old 01-21-2019, 04:08 PM
Folacin Folacin is online now
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I'm certain that at some point, a team got tired of their stuff walking out the door, and decided printing "Property of Us" on it would make it easy to spot the criminals (or the people they were passing the gear on to).

Of course, such printing would just make it more valuable. And, being money-grubbers, they figured out they could sell the stuff instead of letting it be stolen.
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Old 01-21-2019, 04:26 PM
snoe snoe is offline
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Dittoing that the joke is that the item is supposed to be stolen/borrowed. "Property of the Alcatraz Swim Team" t-shirts take the joke in a different direction.


I did have the same confusion when I saw this phrase first -- how would a person be "property of" something? But it's gotta be the "stolen property" joke.
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Old 01-21-2019, 05:38 PM
Jackknifed Juggernaut Jackknifed Juggernaut is offline
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Thanks, this all makes sense. Although as a kid who played baseball, my own self being the property of the Yankees would have been the preferred message.

ETA: as in being a highly-regarded prospect or draft pick, etc.
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Last edited by Jackknifed Juggernaut; 01-21-2019 at 05:40 PM.
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Old 01-21-2019, 07:10 PM
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I think it originated with academic sports. A high school's gym outfits might genuinely be the property of the school, but you'll still see lots of ordinary folks wearing them. Once the popularity caught on, the higher levels started selling them, too.
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Old 01-21-2019, 07:32 PM
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Johnny Bravo Johnny Bravo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
I think it originated with academic sports.
The internet* tells me that it originated at USC in the 1930s, shortly after t-shirts became a thing. The football coach had a bunch of them made for his players to help prevent shoulderpad chafing. They became wildly popular among students, who began stealing them, so the athletic department began putting the "property of" logo to deter theft.

Nowadays it's really just a different type of branding, not meaning anything more than a team logo.

*grains of salt and all that
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