Although I covered some of this in a general article on dating ABC batting helmets, I felt that this helmet was in fact special enough to merit its own article. The person submitting the helmet had tried to find images showing the back of the helmet (in order to confirm the style of numeric appliqué ) but had no luck. The larger collecting community on the very popular Game Used Form was also unable to provide him with what he was looking for. As such, I felt sharing the photos I found of this hand written style of player identification (not on Getty or Corbis) might be of benefit to the larger collecting community. While I make use of the internet in my research, I hope collectors are beginning to see that there is great value in having a personal reference library.
The other thing is that, well… this is just a great item. While attributed by anecdotal evidence only to Yaz’s all but miraculous 1967 season, you will see that this claim is in fact plausible once you understand all of the essential elements of information required to substantiate such a claim. Items from a teams World Series season are extremely desirable, but few players in history have carried their teams to the post season like Yaz did in 1967. Yaz led the AL in hitting, RBIs (led the majors), and co-led with HRs (tied with Killibrew at 44). He also led the AL in hits and runs scored. A Gold Glove was also part of that season’s hardware. In a three team pennant race that came down to the final game of the season, Yaz hit an amazing .523 over the final 12 games with five homers and 16 RBI. In the final two games of the season against the Twins, he went 7-8. Talk about clutch.
I loved doing the work on this helmet and I know the man that wore it loved the work he was doing while wearing it.
As always, collect what you enjoy and enjoy what you collect.
MEARS Auth, LLC
SUBJECT: Carl Yastrzemski Boston Red Sox Batting Helmet
This offered helmet with the MEARS Hologram #309799 is referred to a Carl Yastrzemski Boston Red Sox Batting Helmet based on the hand written numerical identification “8” on the back as well as the painted red over white “B” on the front.
Essential elements of information with respect to offering an opinion on this helmet are:
1. The ability to date the helmet
2. Period photographic confirmation of the numeric appliqué
3. The size of the helmet
4. Style or construction of the helmet
Dating the helmet with the ABC Manufacturers Label:
The style of a manufacturer’s label often contains subtle information that can be used to facilitate dating or a range of possible dates. This ABC label features a zip code of 19063. April 30, 1963, Postmaster General John A. Gronouski announced that the ZIP Code would begin on July 1, 1963. However, it was not mandatory at first for everyone. In 1967, the Post Office required mailers of second- and third-class bulk mail to presort by ZIP Code. So this helmet was manufactured after 1963.
The ABC label also shows the following patent # 3167783. A search of U.S. Patent Office data shows that this patent was granted on February 2, 1965. So this helmet was manufactured after that date as well. This is an important bit of information to make note of as I know of any number of “Hall of Fame” player’s batting helmets bearing this patent # that have been attributed to years before the patent # was issued such as the 1960 World Series.
While I have seen examples of earlier pre-zip code labels found in helmets worn much later than 1963, you can not have a helmet be from a period earlier than when information was available.
Another sticker you will find with ABC Batting is one bearing the phrase Pro-Celd as a registered trade mark. This trade mark was registered on September 17 1967 (Registration number 0835520). This helmet is without this sticker or signs that it may have been present. Given the date of this registration, I would not expect to see it show up with any regularity until 1968 or 1969.
As such I would date this helmet as being likely manufactured for use and wear between 1965 and 1967.
Period photographic confirmation of the numeric appliqué:
The manner in which the player number has been recorded also suggests this helmet was worn sometime prior to around 1972. In 1972, you begin to find images of the Boston Red Sox helmets being identified with non-handwritten numerical annotations. The hand written player numerical identification is also consistent with other period Boston Red Sox helmets, including images of Carl Yastrzemski.
Style of Helmet:
The style of helmet by construction and material is appropriate for this period, specifically a fiberglass shell that features no sort of ear protection. The hand written player numerical identification is also consistent with other period Boston Red Sox helmets, including images of Carl Yastrzemski. The two-hole vent construction in the crown of the cap is also consistent with period examples of ABC products and can be found as such in period images as well.
Size of the Helmet:
For attribution to Carl Yastrzemski, as size 7 is consistent with at least 2 caps and 2 other batting helmets at size 7 in the MEARS data base. One of the other batting helmets was said to have been from around 1969 and it also featured a hand written player numerical notation on the back of the helmet (not written on tape affixed to the rear of the helmet). The other is a mid to late 1970s with a sticker “8” on the back.
Use and Wear:
The offered helmet shows signs of solid and even wear and use including:
-flaking of paint on the helmet shell
-flaking and fading of paint on both the numeral “8” and red over white “B”
-two chips in the front of the brim (5mm and 33mm)
-two chips on the left rim (4mm and 27 mm)
-aged adhesive and leather on the internal padding
The owner of this helmet has provided anecdotal evidence that the helmet was sourced from a former Boston Red Sox bat boy who is said to have obtained this helmet in 1967. While I have not been given any detailed information with respect to the name of this bat boy, the claim does seem plausible given the 1965-1967 dating of the helmet. I do feel the helmet can not be attributed to use or wear by Carl Yastrzemski in the 1967 World Series based on the fact that this is not supported by photographic evidence.
It is my opinion that this helmet possesses all the characteristics you would expect to see in an ABC batting helmet manufactured for use and wear by Carl Yastrzemski from the general period of around 1965-1967. The size “7” is consistent with other forms of Yastrzemski head gear from this period as well. The dating of the helmet by manufactures information is consistent with when the helmet was said to have been obtained. The style of the helmet and hand painted appliqué of the numeral “8” is consistent for this period and can be documented photographically. The use and wear on this helmet appear to solid, even, and genuine with no signs of alterations or contrived use, wear, or player attribution.