I truly never get tired of looking at baseball flannels. Although it is taking me longer these days with competing demands on my time, projects like this always leave me with something to look forward to working on. It is also rewarding to use references such as period yearbooks, which as mentioned before in separate article, are readily available and very affordable if you chose to go with reprints.
Subject: 1962 Bob Gibson St. Louis Cardinals Road Jersey
For the purpose of evaluation and description, this jersey is referred to as a 1962 Bob Gibson St. Louis Cardinals Road Jersey as that is what it is being represented to be. The jersey was recently purchased as Lot # 48 in the April 24th 2008 Sotheby’s/SCP Auction. That auction and lot description includes the following language on page 36 of the catalog:
“ The grey flannel road jersey is completely original and unaltered. Its proper tagging includes his name and year designation stitched in the front tail “Gibson 62” below the manufacturers tag noting the size “42”. The jersey shows excellent game use, with no significant structural flaws.”
After a detailed visual inspection and evaluation of this jersey using lighted magnification, a light table, UV light and references, I offer the following noted observations:
-This offered jersey posses most of the characteristics you would except to see in road jersey issued to and worn by Bob Gibson in 1962 if it is to be considered “completely original and unaltered.” The one notable exception would be the lack of a players name on the back on this offered jersey. Photographic evidence indicates that a 1962 St. Louis Cardinals road jersey should include a players name on the back if it is to be considered ““completely original and unaltered.” Images from 8 July and 19 August 1962 taken on the road in the Polo Grounds confirm this. At times, the dating of images can be off, so I have included the St. Louis Cardinals 1962 schedule from the 1962 team yearbook verifying those dates were in fact played on the road against the New York Mets. Images further supporting this can be found in the 1963 Street & Smith Baseball Annual and the St. Louis Cardinals 1963 team yearbook. Based on when these were published, these action shots would have to have been from a previous season. The one exception would be the image on page 3 of the St. Louis Cardinals 1962 Yearbook which shows Stan Musial “MODELING NEW Cardinal uniforms for 1962 with names on back.” PLATES I, II, & III
In addition, the following other jerseys in the MEARS Data Base also feature a name on the back:
1962 Rawlings Cardinals Home Jersey; Stan Musial
1962 Rawlings Cardinals Road Jersey; Stan Musial
-Rawling’s manufacturer with c 1961-1963 manufacturers label sewn in the lower left-front tail. Tagged as a size 42 and measures as a size 42 which is appropriate for Bob Gibson. Rawlings manufacturers tag appears original to the jersey with no signs of alteration. The same can be said for the supplemental laundry instruction and year/set flag tags sewn on the inside front left tail. This size 42 is consistent with a 1963 St. Louis Cardinals home jersey of Bob Gibson in the MEARS data base. Although Bob Gibson is listed in the static reference of Total Baseball at 6 ½”, 195lbs, his height and weight in the 1962 St. Louis Cardinals Year book has him at 6 ½”, 185lbs. PLATE IV
– The offered jersey features the number “45” on both the front and back. This the correct number for Bob Gibson and correct by style for the year indicated by the year/set flag tag and supplemental year identification stitching of “62” as the Cardinals added player numbers to the front of their jerseys in 1962. The numerals all appear to be original and vintage. The adhesive on the back of all numerals has darkened and cracked as would be expected.
– Embroidered Cardinals lettering and logo appear to be original and correct for the period as well. Specifically, the manner in which the tail feathers on the upright Cardinal above the numerals drape over as opposed to behind the bat it is perched on.
– The seven (7) grey buttons appear to be original and what you would expect to see on a Rawlings product for this period as well.
-The offered jersey is constructed with “set-in” sleeves which is correct for this period and as a Cardinal’s Rawlings product. When evaluated from the inside, you will notice the red fabric bleed or staining from a red undergarment. While this same color bleed can also be seen in the exterior of the underarm areas as well, it does not affect the visual display of the jersey. It is however noted as it relates to what appears as legitimate signs of expected use and wear. PLATE V
– The offered jersey shows signs of heavy use and wear. The absence of a name on the back suggests it may have been used for extended organizational wear as well. A distinct possibility exits that a name was never on the back of the jersey. I would consider this to be a real possibility in that I can find no signs that one was ever in place. In using both a light table and UV lighting, I could find no evidence of previous stitching or traces of adhesive residue in either trace or outline form. Nor were any fabric stressing or cuts, often seen in the removal of names, numbers, patches etc, found. There is some noticeable stressing to the stitching on the inside of the left sleeve were the stitching has broken away along a length of approximately 40mm.There is also a 10mm tear in the lower left front tail located between the bottom button and the Rawling’s manufacturer label.
Evaluation Findings: Based on a my physical examination of this jersey, supporting data, images, and references , it is my opinion that with the exception of the absence of the name from the back of this jersey, it does posses all the characteristics you would expect to find in a Rawlings 1962 Bob Gibson St. Louis Cardinals Road Jersey. While it is possible that Gibson wore this jersey in 1962 or some point there after, it having displaying no discernable signs that a name was ever applied to the jersey can and does call this into question. If this jersey never had a name on the back to begin with (as 1962 St. Louis Cardinals jersey appear should have), it may have been worn by Gibson or someone else outside of the 1962 regular season. The jersey exhibits signs heavy wear as described above. At the time of my evaluation, there was no writing on this jersey that bears the MEARS Hologram # 309883.
MEARS Auth, LLC
Enclosures PLATES I-V
As always, collect what you enjoy and enjoy what you collect.
For questions or comments on this article, please feel free to drop me a line at DaveGrob1@aol.com.