I suspect it won’t take you long to surmise that jersey probably came from the same source as the 1959 Don Drysdale Road Jersey. We’ll get that out of the way up front, it did. As such, this could have been largely a cut and paste rejection letter. I did not want it be for a couple of reasons. First of all, any and all jerseys should be evaluated based on their own merits. The process used to evaluate them and form an opinion should however be consistent. Secondly, the person submitting the item for evaluation should not be paying for a worksheet and form letter.
Truth be told, I really felt bad at this point for the person submitting this jersey since it had common problems with respect to fabric that the Drysdale did. I wanted to make sure that he, and those who would be reading this understood that this was not the sole basis for my opinion. I also wanted to make sure folks could see and understand what it was that I found problematic and why.
None of this makes it any easier for the collector to be happy with my opinion. What I hope it does do is show him and other collectors what to look for and consider when considering similar period pieces. Those offering opinions for pay on items have been publicly criticized, and at times, ridiculed for the work we do or in many cases don’t do. My own organization has rightfully been taken to task at times as well, and sometimes by me. Filling out a worksheet is step in a process and nothing more. If the data is not analyzed, evaluated, and explained in some manner, then what really do you have or what are you charging folks for? In the Intelligence World we refer to this as the “So What Factor.”
I truly hope that after reading this opinion and the noted problematic observations I have made, the collector and the larger collecting public will not be left scratching their head and asking themselves…”So what?”
As always, collect what you enjoy and enjoy what you collect.
MEARS Auth, LLC
For questions or comments on this article, please feel free to drop me a line at DaveGrob1@aol.com
SUBJECT: 1955 Mickey Mantle New York Yankees Road Jersey
For the purpose of evaluation and description, this jersey is referred to as a 1955 Mickey Mantle New York Yankees road jersey. After a detailed visual inspection and evaluation of this jersey using lighted magnification, a light table, a digital microscope, UV light and various references, I offer the following noted problematic observations:
Size: The jersey is identified as a size 44 by the Wilson tag in the tail. The measured size of the jersey is approximately a size 48+. For a period reference from 1955, I used the 1955 New York Yankees team yearbook which shows Mantle at 5’ 10”, 195 lbs.
Other period Mantle flannel jerseys in the MEARS data base indicate:
1954, Home, McAuliffe: Size 44
1954, Road, Wilson: Size 44
1955, Home, Spalding: Size 44
1956, Road, Wilson: Size 44
In addition for Mantle:
1954 New York Yankee team year book: 5’ 10”, 191 lbs
1957 New York Yankee team yearbook: 5’ 10”, 198 lbs
As such, I would have expected to see a jersey in the measured of size 44.
Manufacturer/Construction: The offered jersey is identified as Wilson product by the manufacturer’s label and laundry instructions in the lower left tail. The style of manufacturers tag is problematic in that it is the style that first seems to appear around 1958. The jersey is made of extremely heavy wool flannel and the body lacks any sort of taper. The jersey also only features a five (5) button front. This is both atypical for Yankees jerseys and these other Wilson products from 1955 in both home and road:
1955, Road, Milwaukee Braves: Adcock
1955, Road, Milwaukee Braves: Torre
1955, Home, Cleveland Indians: Avila
1955, Home, Cleveland Indians: Kiner
1955, Home, Cleveland Indians: Wynn
1955, Home, Washington Senators: Vernon
1955, Home, Washington Senators: McDermott
This same manner of manufactures tag was looked at as a characteristic for Wilson jerseys across teams and over a broad time period both before and after 1955 using on-hand jerseys, period images, and uniforms offered in the hobby. The manner of manufacturers tag on this offered jersey was not found to be consistent with other year or even period examples. >b>(PLATE I)
The buttons on the offered jersey are solid gray, two hole style that are not consistent with the above exemplars nor can be found in period images. These are not the same style of two hole buttons found on MacGregor products. Additionally, the font for the NEW YORK across the front is also atypically small with individual letters ranging from 2 ¾” to 2 7/8”. The alignment is also atypical for Yankees road jerseys from 1955 (PLATE II). The fabric for both the number 7 on the back and the lettering is a very thin felt.
The weight of the fabric is extremely heavy and atypical for a professional grade product from this time period. The offered jersey weighs approximately 16 ounces as compared to 11 ounces for a 1954 Wilson home professional grade major league jersey in my on hand reference library.
The fabric of the offered jerseys was also compared to period professional grade major league jerseys in my on-hand reference collection including:
– a 1954 Wilson product
– a 1954 Rawlings product
– a 1958 MacGregor product
– a 1960 Spalding product
This jersey fabric by weave and texture is, in my opinion, the same as the 1959 Don Drysdale jersey that was deemed Unable to Authenticate for the very same reasons.
Aside from the pervious mentioned uniforms, references used to style match/evaluate this jersey included:
Team Specific Print References:
-1955 New York Yankees yearbook
-1956 New York Yankees yearbook
-The New York Yankees: An Illustrated History by Donald Honig
-Yankee Colors: The Glory of the Mantle Years by Al Silverman
-The Yankees: An Illustrated History by George Sullivan and John Powers
-One Hundred Years-New York Yankees: The Official Retrospective
-Big League Baseball in the Big Apple-The New York Yankees from 1901-1962 by
Thomas Antonucci and Eric Caren
– Mickey Mantle: Baseball Legends by Mark & Neil Gallagher
-Baseball’s Great Dynasties: The Yankees by Mark & Neil Gallagher
General Baseball Reference:
-Baseball in the 1950s by Donald Honig
-The American League: An Illustrated History by Donald Honig
-Summer in the City: New York Baseball 1947-1957 by Claus Guglberger
-Mays, Mantle, Snider: A Celebration by Donald Honig
-Film footage the 1955 All Star Game (Yankees in road uniforms as the game was played in Milwaukee)
Supplemental Player Identification: The supplemental identification for this jersey is chain stitched in navy blue, being located in the lower left front tail and reads “7”, “1955” and what appears to be remnants of the numeral “1” The name “Mantle” is also chain stitched in heavy blue thread on a course wool jersey type fabric in the rear of the collar (1). The collar stitching has been opened up at some point (2). This was confirmed by the presence of the fabric being turned up as well as by looking at the rear of the neckline under UV lighting, you can see where a 5” section of new thread has been used to re-close the neckline. The original thread is also whiter than the more gray color thread used to re-close the area (3). (PLATE III)
Use and Wear: The jersey shows no visible signs of any use or wear. The felt lettering and numbers are made from an atypical thin felt fabric that remains firm and stiff. There is no aging or cracking to the backside of the felt on either the numbering or lettering.
Provenance: The jersey were said to have originated from a former major league umpire. This could not be confirmed.
Evaluation Findings: Based on my physical examination of this jersey, supporting data, images, and PLATES I-III it is my opinion that this jersey does not posses the characteristics you would expect to find in a 1955 New York Yankees road uniform manufactured by Wilson for use by Mickey Mantle. No grade is assigned and the jersey is deemed as being Unable to Authenticate as such.
MEARS Auth, LLC