ESPN The Magazine: Collection

The August 23, 2010 issue of ESPN The Magazine presents a new column, Collection, featuring extraordinary collections of sports memorabilia. The inaugural column is devoted to sports and Olympic stamps from around the world; expanded captions for each of the stamps are provided below. Don't forget to click on an illustration for a blow-up (thanks to ESPN and photographer Tom Schierlitz). To see more of ESPN The Magazine, here's a quick link.
1. Basketball is truly a universal sport played around the world -- even in such remote locations as Spanish Sahara in the northwest corner of the African continent. This stamp, issued in 1965, captures the intensity of two players vying for control of the ball.
USA 1996 Olympic basketball
2. The 1996 basketball competition at the Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia featured the USA's second "Dream Team" with Shaquille "The Shaq" O'Neal, Karl Malone, and David Robinson, who scored 28 points in the final. The USA beat Yugoslavia 95-69 for the gold.
USA 1969 Intercollegiate Football Centennial
3. Collegiate football’s first game was played November 6, 1869 between Rutgers College (now, Rutgers University) and the College of New Jersey (Princeton University). In a game that resembled soccer more than football, Rutgers won 6-4. This 1969 U.S. stamp celebrates the centennial.
2004 USA Tiger Stadium
4. The USPS honored ten famous baseball fields in 2001. Tiger Stadium has played home to the Detroit Tigers since 1912. Originally named Navin Field, it held 23,000 spectators in an intimate setting. The stadium was named a National Register of Historic Places site in 1989.
1983 USA Babe Ruth
5. The great George Herman "Babe" Ruth, Jr. at the plate on a 1983 U.S.A. stamp. The "Sultan of Swat" had a career 714 home runs during his 21 years in the major leagues with the Boston Red Sox, NY Yankees, and finally the Boston Braves.
1967 North Korea soccer
6. A trio of young football players on a 1967 stamp from North Korea. A North Korean football team has qualified to two Olympic Games (1964 and 1976) as well as two World Cups -- most recently 2010 South Africa where they did not advance past the Group Matches round.
1986 Bangladesh World Cup soccer
7. The biggest single-sport event in the world is the quadrennial FIFA World Cup of Football. Although it has never made it to a World Cup finals, Bangladesh honored the 1986 FIFA World Cup hosted by Mexico.
1969 USA Pro Baseball
8. Baseball debuted its first professional team, the Cincinnati Red Stockings, in 1869. The U.S.A. commemorated the centennial of that event on this 1969 stamp.
2010 USA Negro League Baseball
9. In July 2010, two Negro Leagues Baseball stamps were issued paying tribute to the all-black professional baseball leagues that operated from 1920 to about 1960. The two 44¢ stamps comprise one scene painted by Kadir Nelson of San Diego, California.
1975 Grenada Equestrian
10. Equestrian events have been contested at each Pan American Games since their inception in 1951. Mexico City hosted the games in 1955 and 1975.
1975 Grenada rowing
11. The eight-oared shell with coxswain event in rowing is another hotly contested competition. Guadalajara, Mexico will host the quadrennial games in 2011.
1985 Guinea Bissau surfing
12. While it certainly has an extensive coastline, it's probably unlikely that there is much surfing in the West African nation of Guinea-Bissau as shown on this 1985 stamp.
1978 Japan baseball
13. Baseball was introduced to Japan in 1837 and has been a popular sport ever since. Japan’s 33rd National Athletic Meeting in Nagano in 1978 was celebrated with a stamp showing a batter and catcher against a backdrop of Nagano's mountains.
1948 Japan baseball
14. Japan's National Athletic Meetings were inaugurated in 1946 as a way to bolster morale following Japan's defeat in WWII. The first event in Kyoto drew 5,377 athletes. This 1948 stamp commemorates Japan’s 3rd National Athletic Meeting in Fukuoke.
1996 Indonesia softball
15. Indonesia’s 1996 National Sports Week stamp features softball, one of 35 sports in which Indonesian athletes compete.
1998 USA Bobby Jones
16. Bobby Jones’s amazing feat, winning the Grand Slam of golf in 1932, was a milestone sports event honored by the US Postal Service in it’s “Celebrate the Century” series.
2001 Canada NHL All-Stars
17. Canada’s 2001 salute to Canadian NHL All-Stars included the Boston Bruin’s Eddie Shore. Shore was named the NHL's most valuable player four times, the most of any defenceman.
1988 Yugoslavia Olympic Boxing
18. Yugoslavia stamp honoring boxing at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. Although they fielded a full compliment of boxers, Yugoslavia walked away with only a single bronze medal won by Damir Škaro in the Light Heavyweight class.
1957 Dominican Republic Olympics
19. Ireland’s Ron Delaney was the winner of the 1500 meters at the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games. Issued by the Dominican Republic in 1957, this stamp is part of the first stamp series to depict Olympic medalists.
1932 Lake Placed Olympic skier
20. Lake Placid, New York hosted it’s first Olympic Winter Games in 1932. This was America’s first winter sports stamp and featured a skier, though it is often mistaken for a ski jumper.
1962 Cape Verde hurdles
21. Athletics are universal as shown on this Cape Verde stamp from 1962 depicting a hurdler.
1936 Germany Olympic javelin
22. One of set of 8 stamps Germany issued to commemorate the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games. Gerhard Stöck of Germany was the winner of that year’s javelin event.
1932 USA LA Olympic runner
23. The first sports stamps issued in the U.S.A. commemorated the 1932 Los Angeles Olympic Games. The model for this 3-cent runner stamp was J. Alfred Leconey, silver medalist in the 4x100-meter relay at the 1924 Paris Olympic Games.
1935 USSR Spartakiad
24. The USSR’s first set of sports stamps commemorated an event that never took place: Moscow's 1935 International Spartacist Games. The 35-kopek stamp featured the hurdles. The full set of 10 stamps is highly sought after with a catalog value of $1,000.
1995 New Zealand skateboarding
25. Since 1931, New Zealand has been issuing stamps to benefit the annual Children’s Health camps. The 1995 stamp features skateboarding.
1990 USA Hazel Wightman
26. Hazel Wightman, one of the premier women’s tennis players in the first quarter of the 20th century, won gold medals in both the women’s doubles and mixed doubles at the 1924 Paris Olympic Games. A 1990 USA stamp honors her achievements.