May 24, 2005
With great pride we have prepared our findings for the following item submitted to us on behalf of Grey Flannel Collectibles. On April 29th, 2005, we examined and recorded the following information for the item to be auctioned on June 22, 2005, Lot #1, hologram #258587. Our methods included the physical examination of the jersey, recording detailed information via our patent pending Jersey Grading and Authentication Worksheet, copyright 2005, comparing it to our data base, taking and analyzing 100’s of high quality images of the actual jersey, comparing the data to other known or like examples, studying reference material provided to us which included photocopied photographs of Babe Ruth including team photos and action shots of players from this era, then compiling the following letter of opinion.
The jersey inspected is Babe Ruth. The jersey was issued as the road grey version to be worn during the course of the regular season and perchance the post season, i.e. World Series. The jersey is manufactured from a grey flannel material consistent with other New York Yankees and other road jerseys manufactured to be worn by major league baseball players during this era. The jersey is similar in consistency to other examples of major league road jerseys we have examined.
The style was button down which was standard on major league jerseys from this era. Seven gray pearl buttons were used. All buttons are original with none missing.
The jersey is manufactured by Spalding and tagged on the inside collar to the right of the player identifier. The square white tag with black lettering reads “A.G. SPALDING & BROS., MADE IN USA, REG US PAT OFF, SPALDING TRADE MARK (Standard Baseball logo design)” This tag is correct and found on documented examples of early 1930s major league baseball and New York Yankees jerseys. The tag is all original with no signs of tampering.
Regarding the size of the jersey, no size tag is present. Size tags were not standard on jerseys from this period so the lack of one is not an issue. The measurement across the chest is 25” which equates to approximately a size 50, which would be an acceptable size for someone of Babe Ruth’s size and weight from that stage of his career.
One of the key identifiers to this jersey is the player name found in the collar. The name Ruth G. H appears in red thread sewn directly into the collar and to the left of the Spalding manufacturers tag. The script of the Ruth G. H is stylized and slants to the right. The process of its application was free hand. The application of the thread forming the GH Ruth is applied to the first fold of the collar only and does not penetrate the reverse of the collar. This is proper and to be expected on the player identifiers found in the neck of jerseys from this period. Another Babe Ruth New York Yankees home jersey was used to compare this process of applying the player identifier. The Babe Ruth jersey used for comparison was a home example and the application of the 3 (introduced in 1929) on reverse of jersey dates this example from the same era. Examination of the Ruth G. H player I.D. in collar of the road jersey shown similarities to the Ruth G. H in the home example. Although not an exact match, the style, consistency and free hand nature indicated similarities in both jerseys. With this player identifier being all original and untampered with, attribution to Babe Ruth becomes definite.
Starting in 1931, the Yankees changed the front of their jerseys from “Yankees” to “New York.” This can be verified via the “Dressed to the Nines, a History of the Baseball Uniform” found on the Baseball Hall of Fame website. The change remains the same to this day.
This jersey has “NEW YORK” applied to the front in 2 ¾” traditional navy heavy felt lettering. The lettering is sized and styled in typical Yankees fashion. All of the lettering is original and unaltered. The sewing examination of the “NEW YORK” lettering shows a pull through method was used which created a blue, white, blue, white, etc pattern. This is found upon examination of the jersey when turned inside out. Further examination of the sewing of the “NEW YORK” shows a puckering effect when examining the reverse of this lettering. The puckering is caused from the stitching being anchored to the edges of the lettering and the material in-between gathering or rising. This causes a very slight separation between the fabric and the felt lettering. The separation creates a puckering effect. Puckering is a very positive and desirable trait that indicates the lettering is all original and placed there at the time of original issuance. When a jersey has been restored, the puckering effect is lost. Therefore, the examination of the professional sewing with the pull through stitches along with the puckering effect, this jersey has remained all original and was not sent down to the minor leagues to be recycled which was a common occurrence for Yankees jerseys from this era.
The second key identifier attributing this jersey to use by Babe Ruth is the uniform number 3 found on the reverse of this jersey. The Yankees began wearing uniform numbers in 1929 but not until 1931 was the uniform number found in conjunction with the front “NEW YORK”, thus making this jersey style no earlier than 1931. The reverse 3 is made of heavy navy felt and measures 6 15/16”. The 3 is attached via the same straight professional stitching pattern as found on the front lettering. Again, the stitching has created puckering indicating the number is all unaltered as originally issued to be worn. A season or more of use has created the puckering effect and guarantees the jersey is original and unaltered. Upon inspection of the 3, it is noted there is slight separation from the fabric of the right edge.
No patches or outlines of patches were found on the sleeves or other areas. This was checked via an inspection of both the inside and outside of the jersey. If a patch had been applied, the outline from the removal of the stitching would be present. No patches were issued for Yankees jerseys from this era, so patches nor outlines should not be found on a jersey worn by Babe Ruth or any Yankee from this era. This fact again verifies use by Babe Ruth only and eliminating the fact of the jersey being sent for minor league use which would have been indicated if outlines of patches would have been found.
A unique characteristic is found on this jersey. On the rear tail a 2 ¾” x 1 ½” reinforced patch with the remains of the original tie down feature is found. Under the last button on the front there is a four-hole pattern used for the placement of the connecting of the drawstring with the rear tail reinforcement. This was applied to keep the jersey inside of the pants. This tie down feature is a known characteristic of Babe Ruth and a very desirable feature on this jersey.
The jersey also exhibits a under arm air vent system designed to cool the players during games played during the heat of summer. Each underarm is factory designed with a 6 hole reinforced stitched ventilation system. The holes are manufactured into a diamond shaped swatch of material, which connects the underarm sleeves to the body of the jersey.
Another feature of this jersey is the convex tail opening, which joins the side seam gusset and is attached with a reinforced triangular patch of gray flannel material. Also the bottom tail is hemmed with a reinforced seam.
The style of this jersey has been determined to be issued to be worn by Babe Ruth and the New York Yankees circa 1931/32. The drop of the Y can be seen on jerseys worn during these two seasons and has been confirmed through photographic study using dozens of period exemplars. The change from Yankees to New York first took place in 1931 and continued to this day without additional change, but the exact style of “NEW YORK” changed, apparently during the 1933 season according to the photograph comparisons we made. Therefore, the style of this jersey was indicative to usage for the years 1931-32 although it is not impossible that this style may have been re-used again during the 1933 season as the Yankees were known to use shirts the next year as well and may show up in some period photographs. Because of this practice, we are using the term circa since no exact year appears on the jersey.
When examining the placement of the lettering that makes up the NEW YORK, it is very noticeable that the Y drops significantly below the arch of the rest of the lettering. This drop of the Y is a distinguishable feature found on this jersey. The drop of the “Y” was found on photographs of 1932 Yankees jerseys. It should be noted that the dropped “Y” is visible on the documented photo of Babe Ruth crossing home plate after hitting the “Called Shot” homerun.
In the photo we have reviewed, and exact duplication of the examined jersey and the photo provided of Babe Ruth during the called shot game did not provide us with an exact match of photo to jersey. What the photo did provide was a photographic style match of the jersey. The photo provided us with the facts that:
1.) Babe Ruth was wearing a road gray jersey with NEW YORK on the front
2.) The Y in NEW YORK had a drop similar to the photo of Babe Ruth crossing the plate. No other exact detail could be found which either matched the examined jersey to the photo nor did the photo exclude the jersey from exactly matching the photo. Our examination concluded the photo was inconclusive to determine an exact photo match jersey to photo.
For the sake of full disclosure, this jersey was originally sold by Grey Flannel on November 10th & 11th, 1999, lot 491. It was originally offered as a 1930 road acquired during the spring of 1931. Photographs found of the 1931 Yankees showed them wearing jerseys with YANKEES on the front, a style last used during the 1930 season. Due to the fact this jersey reads NEW YORK, the original consignor may have been off by a season or two in his memory of the jersey, but no mention to the Called Shot or the 1932 World Series was mentioned during the original offering of this jersey.
Regarding condition and wear, the following has been determined. The jersey exhibits signs of heavy and significant wear. The amount of wear would be consistent with use from the majority of a season to possible usage during two seasons. Two distinct signs from wear are evident:
1.) The back left shoulder has a tear which measures approximately 1 ¾” long and ½” wide.
2.) The shoulders have begun to show signs of thinning which is associated with extended amounts of game wear. With the fact that the letter states the original owner obtained the jersey directly from Ruth, it should be safe to assume that all of the wear was accredited to Ruth.
3.) The jersey displays overall age toning, which is caused from the interaction of sweat and game use caused by playing games under the hot sun. Remember, during the time of Babe Ruth, night game had not be invented so all games played were under the hot sun in this flannel jersey. Fading of this nature indicates much use took place while wearing this jersey.
Other condition factors have been noticed with this jersey. None take away from the aesthetics or historical importance of this jersey and are only mentioned for the purpose of a complete evaluation.
1.) Minor thread separation is found where the body meets the bottom arms.
2.) A 1 ½” x 1 ½” area of red bleeding is found to the right and below of the
3.) Bottom of the front left Yoke seams are 3 noticeable rust spots.
4.) Right front mid section exhibits 3 scattered spots.
5.) Left side has two eraser sized spots
6.) Other minor spots are found throughout the jersey.
Based on the total evaluation of the jersey presented to us, SCDA is confident to emphatically state this is an all original, properly tagged, styled, and numbered Babe Ruth jersey issued circa 1931/32 that matches the style of jersey worn during the most famous moment in sports history, “the Called Shot”. The fact that this is the very jersey he is wearing while crossing the plate in Chicago is a possibility in that no photographs that we could find eliminated this shirt from the mix, to be factual, everything on this shirt approximates that very shirt.
With only 6 Babe Ruth jerseys known to exist (one having been cut up by Donruss leaving 5), the opportunity to own a jersey of this magnitude is a once in a lifetime opportunity. We have graded this shirt an A9 due only to the minor tear and staining now apparent and this is simply a condition report, as the historical significance cannot be measured by a mere grade. At the time of examination, no finer road shirt of Babe Ruth exist. In addition, if at any time, more photographs or evidence surfaces that helps to further delineate this jersey, we will be more than happy to investigate what, if any, added information that may be deemed appropriate. We have based this opinion with the information made available to us at the time of examination. This jersey truly ranks as one of the finest pieces of sports memorabilia extant, one of the top condition all original Babe Ruth jerseys, and arguably the finest Babe Ruth road jersey known. It was a pleasure to offer our opinion on such a piece of Americana.
Troy R. Kinunen
MEARS, Co-Lead Authenticator