The day after Christmas is the loneliest day on the Island of Misfit Toys. It just seems that unless somebody wants you, what need is there of a Spotted Elephant that serves as the island’s bell hop. Much the same could be said for knit jerseys from 1970s that have been stripped down and recycled for extended organizational use. The difference is for me, I want these jerseys and they have found a home with me.
Recently I was all too happy to pick up three 1970s New York Yankees home knits. The jerseys are one each from 1976, 1977, 1978. These three years just so happen to be only pennant winning seasons for the Bronx Bombers during that decade. I hope you can see where I am going with this. While I don’t see myself looking to pick up Yankees’s jerseys from the 1970s for my own personal collection, shirts like this are invaluable in enabling me to research and offer opinions on ones I am sent.
Specifically, this is what I like about this grouping. First I get examples of manufacturer’s tagging as well as examples of supplemental year/set identification. Although the player’s names have been removed, I am still offered evidence of how and where this should be located in the jersey. Secondly, with all three jerseys being a size 44, I noticed that they are all 15 pinstripes wide across the chest. This helps in gauging potential jersey size for a player when looking at period images. As such, I would expect that a size 42 would have fewer stripes and a size 46 to have more. Because these jerseys were used at some organizational level after their initial year of issue, I am provided outlines of the memoriam arm band worn in 1979 for Yankee catcher and team captain Thurman Munson.
As the old saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. For me, these jerseys are neither misfits or trash because of their value as on hand exemplars and the work I do. So if you send in that 1976 Munson, 1977 Jackson or 1978 Hunter, Gossage, or Guidry Yankees home jersey, rest assured I will have something on hand besides my memory to work with. While my focus is still on flannels, I will be looking to expand my knit exemplar library for the 1970s and 1980s this year as early knits are growing in popularity among collectors.
As always, collect what you enjoy and enjoy what you collect.
MEARS Auth, LLC
For questions and comments on this article, please feel free to drop me a line at DaveGrob1@aol.com.