This is a jersey I have long been waiting for…I am huge Musial fan and couple this with fact that the offering is a rare one-style made the chance to actually see and handle one in person a dream come true. As a uniform researcher, I was also thrilled to be able to see first hand if the fabric developed and produced by the Albany Felt Company for Rawlings under the Rawlings Hall of Fame label was in fact lighter than those in early 1950s.
1956 is also one of the great years in baseball if you are a Reds fan. The Redlegs dominated the National League All Star voting by putting five players in the starting lineup at Griffith Stadium. However, even rabid balloting on the part of the Crosley Field faithful could not keep “Stan the Man” out of the lineup. Although this was Musial’s 15th season in the majors, he would still go on to lead the National League with 109 RBIs that season.
The jersey was everything I expected it to be and maybe a little more…just like the player who donned in on the road in 1956. For the current owner of the spectacular jersey who has consigned it to MEARS for the December Auction, I say thank you for thinking of MEARS and allowing me the chance to share something truly rare with our readers.
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: 1956 Stan Musial St. Louis Cardinals Road Jersey
For the purpose of evaluation and description, this jersey is referred to as a 1956 Stan Musial St. Louis Cardinal’s 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 observations:
Size: The jersey is tagged as a size 44 and this is the true measured size of the jersey. The 1956 St Louis Cardinals team yearbook lists Musial at 6’, 175 lbs.
Other Musial flannel jerseys in the MEARS data base indicate:
1943, Road, Rawlings: Size 42
1948, Home, Rawlings: Size 42
1949, Road, Rawlings: Size 42
1950, Home, Rawlings: Size 42
1951, Road, Rawlings: Size 44
1952, Road, Rawlings: Size 44
1953, Home, Rawlings: Size 44
1954, Road, Rawlings: Size 44
1954, Home, Rawlings: Size 44
1955, Home, Rawlings: Size 44
1956, Road, Rawlings (OFFERED JERSEY): Size 44
1960, Home, Rawlings: Size 44
1962, Road, Rawlings: Size 44
1963, Home, Rawlings: Size 44
1963, Road, Rawlings: Size 44
As such, I consider a size 44 to be an appropriate size for Stan Musial .
Manufacturer/Construction: The offered jersey is identified as a Rawlings product by the manufacturers tag on the lower left front tail and Rawlings is a long recognized provider of jerseys to the Cardinals. They style of tag is one found in Rawlings products from c 1954-1961. The annotation on and design of the tag refers to a new fabric that Rawlings began experimenting with in 1952 with a composition of 45% wool and 55% Dacron. Rawlings covered this in Volume 4 of the 1952 edition of the Rawlings Roundup. The material used in the “Hall of Fame” flannels was said to have been both lighter and more durable than the current flannel fabric then used by Rawlings. I compared this offered jersey in a size 44 to a 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers road jersey (size 42) also manufactured by Rawlings:
1953 Brooklyn Dodgers road Rawlings product: 17 oz
1956 St. Louis Cardinals road Rawlings “Hall of Fame” product: 13 oz
Both jerseys featured felt lettering and numbering, so with 1953 being smaller and weighing 4 ounces more, it appears the fabric is correct per the Rawlings product description. (PLATE II)
The offered jersey is constructed with set-in sleeves which is also year correct for Musial as seen in period images including both still and video from the 1956 All Star Game held in Washington DC. The lettering and numbering are done in a red over blue wool felt affixed with a straight stitch pattern. Both of which are period correct as well. The left sleeve features the “Batting Bird” logo embroidered directly into the fabric of the jersey as opposed to being affixed as patch. This too is appropriate. (PLATES I & III)
Supplemental manufacturers tagging includes a year/set flag tag as well as period appropriate laundry instructions sewn into the interior left front tail.
References used to style match/evaluate this jersey include:
U1317826INP (Stan Musial 10 July 1956)
BE051246 (Stan Musial 12 August 1956)
81355158 (Ken Boyer 21 Jun 1956-Batting Bird logo)
1955 St. Louis Cardinals Team Yearbook
1956 St. Louis Cardinals Team Yearbook
1957 St. Louis Cardinals Team Yearbook
1957 Dell Baseball Annual
The Cardinals Encyclopedia by Broeg & Vickery
The National League by Donald Honig
Baseball in the 50s by Donald Honig
1956 All Star Game
Supplemental Player Identification: Supplemental player identification for Stan Musial is provided on this jersey in the form of “Musial 56” chain stitched in red thread in the lower left front tail. This is in immediate proximity to the manufacturers label, size tag, and laundry instructions. This is both appropriate and compares favorably with a
1956 common player Cardinals road jersey in the MEARS data base.(PLATE IV)
Use and Wear: I would categorize the use and wear on this jersey as moderate. The wear to the fabric of the body is uniform. The external wear to the external felt lettering and numbering is consistent with the rest of the uniform and the gathering on the underside of the numerals and lettering is also consistently moderate. The backing to the felt numbering and lettering appears appropriately aged as seen in both the color and texture.
Evaluation Findings: Based on my physical examination of this jersey, supporting data, images, and PLATES I-IV, it is my opinion that this jersey posses all of the characteristics you would expect to find in a 1956 St Louis Cardinals road jersey manufactured by Rawlings for use by Stan Musial. For Pre-1987 jerseys, the MEARS grading metric begins at base grade of 10 with five (5) major categories for consideration when looking to codify deductions. With the use being both moderate and finding this jersey to compare very favorably with the cited references, coupled with the fact that it is in all original condition, I found no objective reason for any point deductions. At the time of my inspection, there was not writing on this jersey. Final Grade for this offered jersey bearing MEARS Cert # 307547 is A10.
MEARS Auth, LLC