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MAC Gems: MAC Momento Mania!

Not even a global pandemic can stop us from searching for the best MAC memorobilia deals on the internet!

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Illustration: James H. Jimenez / Background photo: Rick Dikeman via Wikipedia Commons under Fair Use Act

Hey everyone, welcome back to MAC Gems, the only column on the internet* that scours the web to bring you some certifiably cool MAC-themed gear available for purchase!

(* that we know of, anyway.)

Hoo boy, it’s been awhile since I last gave you an update from the weird and wacky world of MAC memorobilia.

Our last edition of MAC Gems was a show-and-tell, with readers submitting their favorite pieces from their own collections. Included in the piece were some really cool shadowboxes, a rubber duck, and even a 30-foot tall inflatable helmet!

It’s been nearly a year since our last edition, so we’ll be easing back into the proceedings with three general Mid-American Conference affiliated gems for your perusal. When I get my deal-searching legs back under me, we’ll return to our usual procedure.

In case you’re new to the site, MAC Gems is a weeklyish column where we highlight four-to-five items that can be found on eBay or other vendor sites related to MACtion both past and present. It can be anything from game-worn pants to a professional baseball card of a former MAC hurler to a championship game hat. You never quite know what you’re gonna find on a week-to-week basis.

Without further ado, let’s get to the deals!

1997 MAC Basketball Championship t-shirt

Screenshot: eBay

It’s really very hard to find a more beautiful example of the late 90’s aesthetic than this piece of art which can be found on eBay.

The 1997 tournament was one of the last to be played in Toledo, Ohio’s SeaGate Centre, as the tourney would be moved to Cleveland, Ohio’s Gund Arena in 2000 to coincide with the tournament’s expansion from eight to 13 invited teams. Of the four teams which made the semifinals, only one wasn’t a top seed, with #6 seed WMU upsetting Ohio in the first round.

(Aside: the MAC’s recent postseason adjustments will mark a return to this tournament format for the first time since 1999.)

The 1997 final would feature Eastern Michigan and Miami, with the RedHawks securing the MAC title with a dominant 96-76 victory to secure their ticket to the Big Dance. It was Charlie Cole’s first MAC tournament title at Miami, a brilliant moment in his triumphant first season back in Oxford, where he was previously one of the best players in program history.

To own this piece of history will only set you back $19.49 plus tax, and has free shipping to any location. That’s a heck of a deal, in my experience. Be sure if you do order it, that the shirt fits; it’s a medium Hanes cotton shirt, so it could be prone to shrinking or an ill fit due to age.

1972 Mid-American Conference “Football Annual”

Screenshot: eBay

1972 was a hell of a year for the Mid-American Conference, football-wise.

The conference had six football members, with Western Michigan being the lone non-Ohio program, and featured a conference champion in Kent State who finished with a 6-5-1 record, leaving two 7-3 teams to toil in the middle of the table, giving the Golden Flashes the conference’s lone bowl bid. The 1972 KSU squad would produce three future coaching legends, inclduing second-year head man Don James (who secured a shared national championship at Washington), Nick Saban (defenisve back, 1970-72) and Gary Pinkel (tight end, 1970-73.)

1972 saw Jack Lambert, the future Professional Football Hall of Fame linebacker for the Pitssburgh Steelers, win MAC Defensive Player of the Year, while Miami running back Bob Hitchens secured MAC Offensive Player of the Year honors with an incredible 1,370 yards and 15 touchdowns in just 10 games.

The cover photo seems to be from a Bowling Green game in 1971, which makes it a nice little piece for a Falcon fan’s den. Though, there’s probably some value in having it if you’re a Kent State fan as well, given 1972 was the first (and only) time the Flashes won it all.

The football annual can be yours for $29.99 or best offer with taxes, with approximately $5.99 in shipping costs. A good offer in the $20-25 range might be enough to secure your ownership of this piece of nostalgic MAC media.

Mid-American Conference commemmorative ashtray/paperweight circa 1965

Screenshot: eBay

This is as classic as it gets: a commmemorative ashtray to represent the MAC’s end-of-year meeting. From the retro in-laid logo to the snowflake-like shape, this screams elegance and sophistication.

It also seems to be in fairly good shape, with minimal scratches to the inside bottom. It’s a must have for Ohio University fans, as 1965 was the year Ohio won the “all sports” trophy. The spring meet also happened to be held in Athens that year, thus the Ohio green motif.

Given its age and condition, $44.99 out the door is a steal for such a conversation piece. Add Fast N’ Free shipping on top of that, and this could well be one of the best gems we’ve encountered in terms of value.

Add it to your office or your memorobilia cave and attract the attention of everyone who encounters it.

That’s it for this edition! Be sure to tune back in next Monday as we continue searching the web for more retro MAC finds. Feel free to submit your own MAC Gems, or ideas for future research themes in the comments below, on our Twitter (@HustleBelt) or by using #MACGems.