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February 19, 2013

USC championship license plates go on sale -- ‘Back to back was beautiful’

Tom Hampe endured cold rain and long lines Tuesday morning to buy a license plate commemorating the University of South Carolina baseball team’s two consecutive national championships.

Tom Hampe endured cold rain and long lines Tuesday morning to buy a license plate commemorating the University of South Carolina baseball team’s two consecutive national championships.

“Back to back was beautiful,” said Hampe, a Columbia police officer and USC graduate, as he grabbed a number and prepared to wait behind several dozen customers at the state Department of Motor Vehicles on Shop Road.

The USC Baseball National Champions specialty license plate, marking the Gamecocks’ 2010 and 2011 championships in the College World Series, officially went on sale Tuesday at Motor Vehicles offices.

As of Tuesday afternoon, 31 plates had been sold online since the plates were made available for sale on the Motor Vehicles website Friday. At the agency’s Shop Road office, employees said about four other people, before Hampe, had bought the license plate.

A portion of the $70 fee collected for the plate, sponsored by My Carolina Alumni Association, will go to USC for scholarships.

Hampe hopes to keep the license plate as a memento “forever and pass it on to my grandchildren.”

First, however, he will have to convince his two grandchildren that Gamecock colors are not “yucky” as the children, trained to be Clemson fans, have come to view the garnet and black.

If only he could convince them, he would buy them more things, he said. “I don’t buy orange stuff.”

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