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1974-75 Bill “Goldie” Goldthorpe WHA Baltimore Blades Game Worn Jersey - Photo Match
Lot #6

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1974-75 Bill “Goldie” Goldthorpe WHA Baltimore Blades Game Worn Jersey - Photo Match
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1974-75 Bill “Goldie” Goldthorpe WHA Baltimore Blades Game Worn Jersey - Photo Match
Lot #6

This home white mesh gamer by Rawlings was last worn by Bill “Goldie” Goldthorpe during the 1974-75 WHA season. This enforcer, also nicknamed “Harpo” for his Harpo Marx like hair, was once dubbed the wildest, meanest, most unpredictable player in hockey. He is well remembered for the Blonde Afro he sported as well as being the inspiration for “Ogie” Ogilthorpe of Slap Shot fame. Goldthorpe’s professional career began in 1973 with the Syracuse Blazers, where his legend took shape. Harpo spent 3 seasons in the WHA representing the Minnesota Fighting Saints, Baltimore Blades, San Diego Mariners and the Denver Spurs. When not playing in the WHA, Goldie ran roughshod over the minor leagues. In 195 games played in his career, Goldthorpe amassed 1134 PIMS, nearly 6 PIMS per game! Inspiration for Slap Shot’s “Ogie” Ogilthorpe came directly from real life, as Goldthorpe, who was by his own account jailed dozens of times during his playing career, was actually allowed out of jail for practices and games! Sadly, Goldie’s career was forever derailed when he was shot and seriously wounded in 1980 by a drug dealer while intervening on behalf of an ex-girlfriend. After several years of recovery, Bill attempted a comeback with the Moncton Alpines with whom he played a single game.

The Michigan Stags came into franchise existence to begin the 1974-75 season. Formerly the LA Sharks, the team was purchased by a pair of Detroit businessmen late in the 1973-74 campaign. The new owners moved the struggling franchise to Detroit in the summer of 1974. Unfortunately, the teams’ financial problems were not solved by the move. Poor attendance, day-to-day expenses and mounting payroll debt proved too much for the owners to overcome. In January of 1975 the Stags became wards of the league as their owners left amidst a sea of debt. A week later the WHA folded the Stags and relocated them to Baltimore to finish out the 1974-75 season, their last as a franchise.

The game wear on this size 46 sweater is solid and consists of stick and slash marks, board burns, board paint transfer, un-repaired burn holes, fight abuse, washed out bloodstains, collar stretching, a custom fight strap, fine inner pilling and team-sewn repairs. Shown above is a beautiful photo match of Goldthorpe wearing this exact jersey during the 1974-75 season. The Baltimore Blades WHA crest is sewn right atop the Baltimore Clippers AHL crest. In 1975, the Clippers stepped aside as part of the deal to bring the WHA to Baltimore. These jerseys were sent from the AHL club to the WHA team that came into existence in the blink of an eye after abruptly leaving Michigan. Following the season, with the Baltimore Blades having folded, the Clippers reorganized and reacquired nearly all of their old equipment and jerseys, where they were again readied for AHL use. Thankfully, this example avoided that fate! After extensive research, we can say that we know of no other Baltimore Blades jersey that exists with the team’s WHA crest in tow. When the discussion of rare WHA jerseys takes place, this example should rightfully lead the conversation. Having been worn by legendary enforcer Bill “Goldie” “Harpo” Goldthorpe only adds to the allure and collectability of this incredible jersey. Seeing the Blades crest on a game worn Baltimore WHA jersey means that you’re looking at something very special indeed, in this case a one of a kind hobby rarity, choice!