As you can see I've used a sequence of codes to identify the
variations among the teams. I think anyone who's been in the
hobby for a while will recognize most of them and understand the logic
behind the system. The sequence can be decoded as
1) COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: CH = China, HA = Haiti, HK = Hong Kong
2) APPROX YEAR OF MANUFACTURE: Pretty self explanatory I think. As I said the dates are approximate. Mostly the dates are just there to indicate that a manufacturing change of some kind has occured. This might be a change in the country of manufacture or a general change in the mold, the paint style or the printing on the bags. Or the change may only affect one particular team such as a slight variation in uniform colors. It's very difficult to pinpoint exact dates so bare with me on this....
3) OTHER DEFINING CHARACTERISTICS: AMB = Amber, BM = Big Men, CL = Chicken Leg, HL = Hog Leg, PH = Painted Helmet Logo, SH = Stamped Helmet Logo.
I initially put the year of manufacture at the end of the sequence but I think having a number in the middle breaks up that "alphabet soup" feeling. I still think the sequence is kind of cumbersome but it covers all the important information and still allows for some flexibility. I have tried not to make anything in the sequences redundant but I have bowed to convention where it seems necessary. So while all teams that fit under HK67 are obviously going to be BM a lot of people are attached to the term "Big Men" and I didn't want to disregard it entirely. I also thought about including a code for hole vs. no-hole bases but that produced some really long sequences and I just didn't like the look of it. As a general rule-of-thumb all the players from 1967 to about 1984 had holes in the bases. From about 1985 on there were no holes in the bases except for the "67 BM re-issues" that came out a few years ago.