I enjoying working with Rob Lifson so let’s just get that out of the way right off the bat. I respect what he has done and is doing for the industry on a macro level. Rob is the kind of guy who wants “to get it right…”, almost to the point of obsession. To see this, look no further than what happened with the 1992 Michael Jordan Olympic “Dream Team” Jersey.


The short version is, although the jersey came with great pedigree and provenance, Rob wanted it treated like every other item he offers. He not only found out it was not what it had been represented to be, but he was the one that made sure collectors knew about it. That’s about getting it right.

Along those lines, Rob sent me a late 1920’s Wilcy Moore New York Yankees Road uniform and cap that had been placed to 1927/1928 by my colleagues Troy Kinunen and Dave Bushing. I had not seen this uniform nor the work done by Troy and Dave. I agreed to look at it for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, no collector or researcher would ever pass up a chance to see such a rare offering and I am no exception. Secondly, I thought it would be a great story for MEARS readers.

The uniform traces its origins in the hobby to the Barry Halper Collection. This offering was part of large collection contained within an equipment trunk that Halper purchased from Yankee’s longtime equipment manager Pete Sheehy. The same trunk contained a Lou Gehrig jersey, as well as jerseys of Dutch Ruether, Mark Koenig, Bob Meusel, Waite Hoyt, this Wilcy Moore uniform, and a couple of others. This jersey and the Ruether were sold outside of the 1999 Halper/Sotheby’s Auction. Getting back to the source, Sheehy began working for the Yankees in 1927. According to an article and interview with Sheehy that appeared in the Lima News on Sunday April 15th 1973 Sheehy said he:

“was hanging around Yankee Stadium in the spring of 1927 when an elderly gray-haired man approached him and said, “Son, will you help me with some equipment. I jumped at the chance Pete related. The man was Fred Logan, the Yankees equipment manager. I helped him that day and the next. Soon I had a regular job. Sheehy went to war in 1942 and came back in 1945 to find Logan retired. He took over the equipment job and has it ever since.”

OK… not that it had to be proven, but yes Sheehy was with the Yankees in some capacity back in 1927. Of course none of this directly places the Wilcy uniform to 1927/1928. What we can see by the other players mentioned in this mix is that if you look at the years they played with the New York Yankees:

Wilcy Moore: 1927-1929; 1932-1933

Lou Gehrig: 1923-1929

Dutch Ruether: 1926-1927

Mark Koenig: 1925-1930

Bob Meusel: 1920-1929

Waite Hoyt: 1921-1930

They were only all teammates in one year, 1927. This is great, but it my mind as it stands right now, this still does not make it a 1927 jersey. In doing a very detailed look at New York Yankee jerseys as part of re-look of the “Called Shot” jersey, I feel the Yankees held onto a set of uniforms for a subsequent years use. Could this uniform be a carry over from 1926 since Ruther was with the club then? I think the answer to this question is no. The name “Moore W. W.” is chain stitched in faded red thread, now almost pink, in the rear collar of the jersey. If this had been a carry over jersey, Moore’s name would not likely appear in this manner. More easily seen (no pun intended) is that the New York Yankee road jerseys from 1926 featured NEW YORK on the front and not YANKEES and this jersey has not been re-lettered.

This shirt was sewn for use and wear by Wilcy Moore. We know it can’t be from 1929 since the jersey contains no number on the back, a practice the Yankees began in 1929. This also tends to support, at least from a numerical standpoint that it is also not a 1928 jersey carried over for use in 1929.

I feel, once again, based on my extensive re-look of the Ruth jersey, that a likely population for Wicly Moore may have been 2-3 jerseys per year. It would look something like this:

For 1927:

1x carry over jersey

2x new jerseys

For 1928:

1x carry over jersey

2x new jerseys

For 1929:

1x carry over jersey

2x new jerseys

We can exclude this uniform as a carry over from 1926. We can exclude both of the new jerseys from 1929 and one of the new jerseys carried over from 1928. This leaves us with 2 new jerseys from 1927 and one new jersey from 1928. As with the Ruth jersey, I worked on an assumption that a jersey would not likely be carried over for two seasons based on wear and usage.

In looking back at the Halper catalog ( Lot # 604, page 225), the Gehrig jersey is said to have “been issued for the 1927 World Series and the entire 1928 season.” The other interesting thing to note is the description for the Gehrig, Waite Hoyt (Lot # 603), Mark Koenig (Lot # 601) and Bob Meusel Home (Lot # 602) is how the player identification is done:

This Moore Road Jersey: Moore W. W.

The Gehrig Road Jersey: Gehrig H.L

The Hoyt Road Jersey: Hoyt W.C.

The Koenig Road Jersey: Koenig M.A.

The Meusel Home Jersey: R. Meusel

There is clearly at least one difference in this grouping with respect to a manufacturer’s characteristic and this leads me to believe there may have been others. Sadly, the only uniform shown in the Hapler catalog is that of the Gehrig so those others are not available for visual reference.

I noticed that in April of 1999 Mastro’s ran a 1927 Bob Shawkey Road jersey, but the lot description is not detailed about how the players name was stitched in the jersey. Richard Wolfers Auctions offered a 1927 Pat Collins Yankee’s Road Uniform in February of 1993 and Collins’ name is recorded in the jersey as “Collins. T.P.” (Yankees 1926-1928) Mastro’s also lists a 1926/27 Dutch Ruether New York Yankees Road Jersey (June 8th 2001, Lot # 391). This Ruether jersey has the player name done as “Ruether W.H.” in the collar. Although the Mastro description lists this jersey as being from 1926/1927 and specifically:

“The offered New York Yankees road grey uniform was issued to and worn by 1927 Yankee starting pitcher Dutch Ruether. As he was acquired late in the 1926 season, this uniform can only be from 1926 (most likely not the case as late season additions were issued “extra” uniforms or those of another player) or 1927 (our opinion).”

I think the speculation about when this jersey could have been from or issued to Ruether could have eliminated 1926 based on the style YANKEES vs NEW YORK and his playing time with the Yankees. What this jersey does offer us is a one year snap shot of the convergence of player, team, and style as a comparative example for 1927.

What this leaves us with is that the Wilcy Moore jersey compares very favorably with the single season 1927 example of the Dutch Ruether with respect to the player annotation in the collar.

Wilcy Moore: 1927-1929; 1932-1933

Lou Gehrig: 1923-1929

Dutch Ruether: 1926-1927

Mark Koenig: 1925-1930

Bob Meusel: 1920-1929

Waite Hoyt: 1921-1930

Pat Collins: 1926-1928

Bob Shawkey: 1915-1927

Once again, 1927 jumps out since this is the only year that Moore, Ruether, and Shawkey played for the Yankees at the same time.

What we are looking for are ways to try to differentiate the difference between shirts manufactured in 1927 and 1928. The good thing is that years are bounded by a style change on the front end (1926) and numerals being added on the back end (1929). In August of 1998, Hunt’s Auctions offered a 1927/1928 Lou Gehrig road jersey (Lot # 538). While the YANKEES had been stripped from the front, the outline of those letters remained. The jersey had no number or signs of one on the back, so how was it attributed to Gehrig…? By the still present and faded player identification remaining in the collar that reads “Gehrig.” A further look at pre-1931 Yankees road jerseys offered within the hobby shows:

Leland’s November 1993: Listed as a 1929/30 Ruth Road Jersey with the player identification of simply “Ruth” (Lot # 423)

Leland’s November 1993: Listed as a 1927 Gehrig Road Jersey with the player identification of simply “Gehrig” (Lot # 157)

What I found interesting in comparing the 1993 LeLand’s Gehrig to the 1998 Hunts Gehrig was as follows:

The 1993 Leland’s offered jersey featured the letters in the word YANKEES in an atypical shade of blue and the honest disclaimer by Leland’s that the front had “been slightly colored in blue by the original owner.” The jersey also came with provenance stating the jersey had been gifted to an orphan. This was the same type of provenance as offered with the Hunts offering some five years latter. Although the lettering was missing from the jersey at the time Hunts offered it, these two jerseys both had the bottom button replaced with yellowish/brown button and both featured a small blood type stain in the same location just below the lower case “g” in the player annotation “Gehrig”. The Spalding manufacturers tag in both jerseys was sewn through the tag by location in the same manner. To me all of this indicates these are the same jersey. Combined with the Gehrig jersey from the Halper Collection (Lot # 604, page 225) we now have two Gehrig road jerseys from the 1927-1928 time period with different manners of player identification.

Since I don’t know how Shawkey’s name was annotated in the collar, my focus is once again back on the Ruether jersey. A reasonable question might be, that although we know Ruether did not play for the Yankees in 1928, is it possible that a shirt may have been ordered for him for the 1928 season. Period newspaper accounts such as from the Lima News, 3 January 1928 announce that Ruether was released by the Yankees and as such did not even come to spring training with the club that year. So I feel that the Ruether jersey is most relivant point of reference.

Another thing to consider is the construction of the actual lettering in YANKEES. Rob Lifson was good enough to provide me with two undated photographs (these will accompany the uniform when sold). It was clear to me that the jerseys in these two photographs are different based on the construction of the letter “K”. This is easily seen if you look at the depth of the cut in the upper and lower troughs. I decided to see how this was seen in images from the 1927 World Series. This jersey features the same cut of the letter “K” as worn by both Ruth and Gehrig in the 1927 World Series as well as those of the Collins and Shawkey jerseys.

This is what I know or think I know as either facts or assumptions:

FACT: This Wilcy Moore jersey can be dated to 1927/1928 by style alone.

FACT: That is was sourced from a collection of jerseys that originated with Pete Sheehy.

ASSUMPTION: These uniforms were packed away at the same time.

FACT: That the Dutch Ruether jersey, part of this same original collection is from 1927 and 1927 only.

ASSUMPTION: Uniforms made at the same time should share common characteristics.

FACT: The other New York Yankees road jerseys from the same collection as the Ruether and the Moore feature player identification in terms of last name and two initials.

FACT: A Pat Collins jersey from 1927/1928 exists with the player identification in the manner of last name and two initials.

FACT: The jerseys worn by Moore in the pictures provided by REA are different jerseys based on the construction of the letter “K”.

FACT: This jersey features the same letter “K” construction as the Ruther, Collins, and Shawkey jerseys and is also the same as the ones worn by Ruth and Gehrig in the 1927 seasons.

FACT: There are two 1927/1928 Lou Gehrig New York Yankees road jerseys with different styles of player identification.

FACT: The 1929/1930 Babe Ruth jersey features only the name RUTH in the collar.

FACT: This Wilcy Moore jersey is not a 1928 jersey carried over for 1929.

ASSUMPTION: The jerseys for Wilcy Moore made in 1928 are likely to have been sewn in the same manner with respect to player identification.

Based on my observations and the above information, I would say it is much more likely that this Wilcy Moore jersey is from 1927 than 1928. If nothing else with respect to the Gehrig jerseys, it compares more favorably to the one described as “been issued for the 1927 World Series and the entire 1928 season.” This would still place it to use in the 1927 season. If all of this seems like a lot of work and borders on the point of splitting hairs, then you don’t know Rob Lifson like I do… a guy who is very concerned about getting right.

If you are one of those folks who might be thinking, “I’d rather have a star player from the 1927 team,” then you may not realize how rare these uniforms are or don’t fully understand the role Moore played on the ball club known as Murderers Row. Wilcy Moore was a rarity as a pitcher for his time, in that he was used mostly in a relief role. While Moore only started 12 games for the Yankees in 1927, he also relieved in 38 posting a 19-7 record along the way coupled with a league low 2.28 ERA. Moore also led the American League in saves in 1927 with 13. In the 1927 World Series, Moore led the Yankees staff in innings pitched and was the only pitcher to pitch in more than one contest. In a series that only lasted four games, Moore had both the save in Game 1 and the complete game win in Game 4.

As I hoped would come across with the title of the piece, “The Moore you know about this uniform, the more I think you’ll appreciate it”.

As always, collect what you enjoy and enjoy what you collect.


For questions or comments about this article, please feel free to drop me a line at DaveGrob1@aol.com