I’m getting old, as sadly the description of “vintage baseball uniform” no longer automatically equates to a flannel offering. It did when I began collecting and researching jerseys, but that was over 25 years ago. More and more often I find myself asked to research and offer opinions on knit baseball jerseys from the 1970s-early 2000s. In order to perform this work in a credible manner, I began adding knits to my hand exemplar library in earnest a little over a year ago. Since then I have picked up around 150 common player/coach/bat boy knits of various styles from all major league teams. I am always looking for styles or something unique about the uniforms I snag and this article involves once such recent acquisition. The jersey in question is a 1980 Dave Goltz Los Angeles Dodgers Home Jersey.
I was attracted to the jersey for two reasons. First, it was a common player Dodgers player jersey that featured a Goodman & Sons manufacturers label with language identifying it as one produced for Goodman by Mizuno. Secondly, it featured what appeared to be an original 1980 All Star Game Patch. Let’s start with the Mizuno relationship.
Mizuno and as a Manufacturer/Supplier of Uniforms to the Dodgers in 1980
While there are a few Dodgers jerseys in the MEARS data base that feature this type of tagging, the ones to date have all been period star players. There of course is nothing wrong with this, since we get very requests to evaluate common player knits. However, as I have always cautioned collectors, no jersey can serve as an example for itself. By this I mean, the first time MEARS saw one of these jerseys with this tagging, there had to be something about it other than the tag and the fact that it was found on the jersey to establish a plausible relationship between Mizuno and providing uniforms to the Dodgers. Consider what it is we know about Mizuno, the time frame in question, and the identification of specific manufacturer’s characteristics that can be verified in period images.
Mizuno signed Pete Rose to an endorsement contract in 1978 while the Cincinnati Reds were touring Japan as part of an exhibition of baseball. It is interesting to note that the tour was sponsored by Rawlings Sporting Goods. By 1979, Mizuno had established America Mizuno, Inc, headquartered in Dallas, Texas. Additionally in 1979, Mizuno had begun a traveling “glove factory” that toured spring training sites and American cities in an attempt to promote their baseball products and services. An article that appeared in the April 26th, 1979 edition of the Frederick News-Post specifically mentions Dodgers’ manager Tommy Lasorda and other Dodger players having been provided gloves by Mizuno. The “glove factory” effort was supervised by a man named Jim Darby, a promotion manager for a California based company that handled Mizuno’s U.S. based affairs. (PLATE I)
The buttons on this jersey are not typical of those found on Goodman & Sons Dodgers’ home jerseys from this time frame. These buttons are a solid white two-hole variety that have the words “World Win” embossed on them and as such, they are considered a unique manufacturers characteristic for Mizuno. This is a characteristic that can be found in year dated photographs of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1980. Based on a combination of Mizuno’s marketing efforts and the presence of these buttons in dated Dodger photographs from 1980, I consider Mizuno to be a legitimate supplier of uniforms to the Los Angeles Dodgers at this time. (PLATES II-III)
All Star Game Patches; 1978-1980
The second reason I was attracted to this jersey was that it appeared to have an original 1980 All Star Game patch and the jersey belonged to a common player. Dave Goltz was a twelve year journeyman pitcher who threw for the Twin, Dodgers, and Angles between 1972 and 1983. His tenure with the Dodgers included the 1980-1981 seasons and a portion of 1982. The jersey is dated to the 1980 season by the presence of the 1980 All Star Game Patch sewn to the left sleeve. After physically inspecting the jersey, I found it to in fact be all original, including the patch. The 1981 Los Angeles Dodgers yearbook contains numerous and incredible photographs of the Dodgers in 1980 showing this manner of sleeve adornment. (PLATE IV)
The patch in and of itself, makes the jersey a bit of a rarity since this was only the third time a patch like this was worn by the city hosting the Mid-Summer Classic. The first occurrence took place two years prior when the All Star game was hosted by the San Diego Padres. This was followed up in 1979 when the Seattle Mariners hosted the All Star Game. (PLATE V)
As far as feeling comfortable with placing the jersey to Dave Goltz, the jersey is tagged as and in fact measures to be a size 46. Period yearbooks, both Street & Smith LA Dodgers list him at 6’, 4”, and 215 lbs. A size 46 jersey is one I would consider appropriate for Dave Goltz at this time. Period images from both Dodger Yearbooks and his team postcard from 1980 confirmed the appropriateness of the alpha-numeric fonts, the direct application of the name (vs. a nameplate) and the spatial arrangement of all of these things on the jersey itself. (PLATES VI-VII)
Dollars and Sense
Now let’s take a look at the cost of all of this. I purchased the 1981 Dodgers yearbook a while back as part of collection. Based on the total cost of the purchase, each yearbook cost me around $6.75. If I were looking today, I would find that single editions of it can be found on E-bay with opening bids as low as $2.95 or those with a Buy It Now feature for $10 (with free shipping). The 1980 Dave Goltz team postcard set me back $5.70 and this included postage. In other words I spent just over $12.00 and my time to make an informed $338.00 purchase decision. The time and money I spent up front enables me to do a few things. First and foremost, I can enjoy what I have in a worry free manner. I’ve also made my ability to resell the item easier since I can communicate my level of comfort to a prospective buyer in an objectively defendable manner (not looking to sell the jersey right now). This purchase also enables me to add another on-hand product to my exemplar library to leverage in the work I do for MEARS.
I was also able to identify button style as a defining and known manufacturer’s characteristic for these Mizuno jerseys produced for Goodman and Sons. It was a tremendously enjoyable and rewarding research project as well. I know at this point I am probably beginning to sound like a broken record (if you don’t get the analogy, ask someone born before 1970), but I encourage all of you to either spend a little time and money up front in doing your own homework, or if you pay for an opinion, make sure the person doing the work has more to hang their hat on than Getty, Corbis, and “I’ve seen lots of these over the years.” Not sure how much sense it makes to spend your hard earned dollars with folks like these anyway, but you get what you pay for. I know in this case I did and that makes sense to me.
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