November 6, 2005
The following item 1936 Joe DiMaggio New York Yankees Home jersey #9 & pants,
was submitted to MEARS for grading and evaluation on behalf of Sotheby’s/SCP. The item will appear for sale in the Sotheby’s with SCP December 2005 auction. Detailed photographs were taken and hologram number 303004 (jersey) & 303005 (pants) was assigned. Our evaluation methods included the physical examination of the item coupled with imagery analysis. The physical examination included a visual examination with the addition of both a light table and magnified light source. The examined jersey was compared to all of the known DiMaggio and Yankees jerseys from the era found in the MEARS database. Finally, 100’s of photos were examined and documented examples were compared to the actual jersey. Our findings were summarized and recorded on the accompanying patent pending Jersey Grading and Authentication Worksheet, copyright 2005. After the final review, the official MEARS letter of opinion was issued.
Our authentication team consisted of Dave Bushing, Dan Knoll, and Troy R. Kinunen with factual review by LTC MEARS Auth, LLC.
Reference Materials Used:
MEARS database 1936 Spalding Jim Sundra Home jersey
MEARS database 1936 Spalding Red Ruffing Road jersey
MEARS database photo 1936 Joe DiMaggio (home jersey) with Bob Feller
Image 1 gettyimage NY8155
Image 2 corbis Lou Gehrig with Joe DiMaggio
Image 3 gettyimage Joe DiMaggio sitting
Image 4 sporting news Joe DiMaggio batting reverse #9
Time Magazine July 13th, 1936
MEARS database Yankees Spalding 1936 Home #15 PC27
MEARS database Yankees Spalding 1936 Road #15 PC27
Photo: actual jersey front left chest with outline of NY
Photo: actual jersey right sleeve construction
Photo: actual jersey complete front view
Photo: actual jersey complete reverse view showing #9
Photo: actual jersey close up #9
Photo: actual jersey Spalding tag and Joe DiMaggio 9 chain stitching
Photo: actual jersey close up 36 year chain stitching
Photo: actual jersey Joe DiMaggio 9 36 chain stitching and Spalding tag
Photo: actual jersey front view of pants
Photo: actual jersey close up of reverse of pants
Photo: Outline of NY photographed from light table
Life size color scan: inside of collar focusing on Spalding tag and Joe DiMaggio chain stitching
Life size color scan: close up of reverse 9 and pinstripes
Life size color scan: close up of year stitching and tail seam
Life size color scan: button openings and pinstriping
Life size color scan: reverse view of pull through stitching of 9
Life size color scan: Joe DiMaggio and Spalding tag pants details
Joe DiMaggio Albums. G.P. Putman Publishers, 1989
Style and Material
This 1936 Joe DiMaggio Yankees jersey was issued as the home pinstripe version to be worn during the course of the regular season and possibly the World Series. The jersey is manufactured from a cream pinstriped wool blend fabric consistent with other New York Yankees and additional major league home jerseys manufactured to be worn by major league baseball players during this era. This jersey is similar in consistency to other examples of major league home jerseys with respect to quality of material and construction to others examined from the same relative time frame.
The style was button down which was standard on major league jerseys from this era. Seven white pearl buttons were used. All buttons are original with none missing.
The jersey was issued with full length sleeves and were supported by the provided and examined photos: Image 1 gettyimage NY8155, Image 2 corbis Lou Gehrig with Joe DiMaggio, Image 3 gettyimage Joe DiMaggio sitting, Image 4 the sporting news Joe DiMaggio batting reverse #9, Time Magazine July 13th, 1936. Examination of this jersey shows that the sleeves were trimmed. No photos provided showed Joe DiMaggio with trimmed sleeves.
Manufacturer tagging, sizing, player I.D., & year I.D.
The jersey is manufactured by Spalding and tagged on the inside collar to the left of the “Joe DiMaggio 9” chainstitching player identifier. According to the MEARS database, the Spalding label is consistent for the period of approximately 1936-1942. The white tag with black lettering measures 1 ¼” x 1 ¼” and was sewn with a straight stitch, which does not protrude through the fold of the collar. Printed on the tag, “HIGHEST QUALITY, A.G. SPALDING & BROS., MADE IN U.S.A. , TRADE MARK SPALDING, REG. U.S. PAT. OFF.” (Circular baseball logo design) The tag is all original with no signs of tampering. The collar seams are original and thus lead us to believe the player identifier was not added at a later date. This style of tag was found on the 1936 Yankees jerseys MEARS had previously examined, the 1936 Sundra Home and Red Ruffing road. Comparing all 3 jerseys and determing matching tagging establish consistency of manufacturer.
This is the earliest known Joe DiMaggio playing career jersey found in the MEARS database. Other period jerseys include:
1935 Yankees Spalding Road Ruth
1936 Yankees Spalding Road Ruffing
1936 Yankees Spalding Home Sundra
1936 Yankees Spalding Home #15
1936 Yankees Spalding Road #15
1937 Yankees Spalding Home Fletcher
1937 Yankees Spalding Road Hadley
1938 Yankees Spalding Road Gomez
The jersey is similar in consistency of materials to other examples of major league jerseys we have examined. These examples are consistent as examples both before and after this shirt, permitting some sort of trend analysis and verification of Spalding as a known Yankee’s supplier during the 1936 season. Home examples were most helpful.
Other period Joe DiMaggio jerseys in the MEARS database are:
1939 Yankees Spalding Road DiMaggio
1941 Yankees Wilson Road DiMaggio
1946 Yankees Wilson Road DiMaggio
1947 Yankees Wilson Road DiMaggio
1948 Yankees Spalding Home DiMaggio
1948 Yankees Wilson Road DiMaggio
1951 Yankees Spalding Road DiMaggio
Data shows this is the earliest known Joe DiMaggio Yankees home jersey. Only one other home, the 1948 Yankees jersey was found in the MEARS database. Also, it is established that Spalding is a known manufacturer of the home jerseys for Joe DiMaggio while he played for the Yankees.
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 24” which would be an acceptable size for someone of Joe DiMaggio’s size and weight from that stage of his career. (Height=6’2”, weight 193 pounds, courtesy of www.baseballreference.com)
One of the key identifiers to this jersey is the player name found in the collar. The name Joe Di Maggio 9 appears in faded red thread sewn directly into the collar to the right of the Spalding manufacturers tag. The script of the Joe Di Maggio 9 measures 3 ½” in length and ½” in height. The 1936 Home Sundra and 1936 Red Ruffing could again be used for comparison. Both exhibited the chainstitching found to the right of the Spalding tag. Both had first initial before last name, followed by the players’ uniform number. The DiMaggio jersey had his full name included as opposed to first initial only. Upon review of Spalding Yankees jerseys from the early to mid 1930’s, only one other example exists for the player’s first name being added to equipment. On Babe Ruth’s 1932 road Spalding pants, they were labeled as “Babe” Ruth. Joe DiMaggio is the only other player besides the Bambino to have his first name used to identify a part of his uniform.
The process of its application is free hand machine embroidery appliqué. The application of the thread forming the Joe Di Maggio 9 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 Yankees jerseys from 1936 and again were supported by the 2 other Yankees jerseys we examined. With this player identifier being all original and untampered with, attribution to Joe DiMaggio is made.
Rear outer right tail finds a 1 ¼” x 2” red faded chained stitched year identifier, 36. This refers to the year of issuance, 1936. The year identifier is very similar in color, texture, and style to the Joe Di Maggio 9 player identifier. With the consistency of application and being all original, the year of this jersey can be positively attributed to issuance during 1936.
Style & Pinstriping
Starting in 1936, the Yankees changed the style of their jerseys with the addition of the interlocking NY to the front of their uniforms. This can be verified via the “Dressed to the Nines, a History of the Baseball Uniform” found on the Baseball Hall of Fame website. This style remained and in 1938 the Yankees added a sleeve patch. Therefore, the style of this jersey has been verified as the style that would have been worn by the Yankees during the 1936 season.
Although not present on this examined jersey (cert #301439), the outline of the interlocking NY can be seen when examined on the light table. The outline of the NY measured 3 ½” wide X 4” height. The outline was produced from the removal of the threads used to anchor the NY. The removal created stress on the fabric’s fibers that retained the shape of the NY. The sewing examination of the interlocking “NY” logo shows a pull through method was employed to anchor the team logo. The outline of the NY was important to the authentication of this jersey as it substantiated the style that was used during the 1936 season.
The removal of the “NY” is typically associated with the jersey being sent down to the minor leagues to be recycled which was a known practice of the New York Yankees.
Examination of the pinstriping found it to be factory dyed in one-inch widths. Again, the pinstipes matched width, color, and consistency with the 1936 Sundra Home Yankee jersey examined.
The second key identifier attributing this jersey to being worn by Joe DiMaggio during his rookie season of 1936 is the number 9 found on the reverse of this jersey. The Yankees have been wearing uniform numbers on the reverse of their jersey since 1929. Although Joe was famous for wearing uniform #5, it was 9 that was issued to him when he started his career with the New York Yankees. This can be verified by “Image 4 gettyimage Joe DiMaggio batting reverse #9” which we used for support of our examination along with the Joe DiMaggio Albums. Also 9 was chained stitched to the right of his name in the collar which was used to designate the player uniform number.
The reverse 9 is made of heavy navy wool blend and measures 4”x6”. The 9 is attached via a straight professional stitch pattern. The nine is all original an anchored with a professional straight stitched sewing pattern. The nine appears to be the original number as applied during the 1936 season and an irregularity of the fabric under the 9 was visible. Upon inspection of the 9, evaluation team member Dan Knoll noted the following:
…we have examined the back of the shirt with extreme scrutiny, assisted by a high intensity light table, and found irregularities that were detected in the weave of the pinstriped flannel in the general area upon which the number “9” is anchored. Such scrutiny is standard protocol in our examination of vintage baseball uniforms. It is our belief that such weaving inconsistencies can be attributed to simple irregularities not uncommon to wool and cotton flannel fabrics used in 20th century baseball uniforms. Such fabric traits are also a product of typical player wear. It is important to note that Joe DiMaggio possessed an axial skeletal abnormality (vertebral column and ribs), which was manifested by a protrusional rounding of his back along the area, were upon his number resided. Such an abnormality would contribute to an irregular concentration of contact between the numbered area of the jersey and the dugout bench or wall. Both the jersey and the number “9” on back display consistent wear throughout, leading us to firmly believe that this number is the same number which was anchored to the shirt when given to Joe DiMaggio at the start of the 1936 season.
Further examination found that 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 Joe DiMaggio or any Yankee for wear during the 1936 season.
The jersey also exhibits a under arm gusset 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 flannel material. Also the bottom tail is hemmed with a reinforced seam. This structural feature is found on other period Yankees jerseys MEARS has examined.
Imagery analysis was utilized to support the following:
1. To support point 1, we first examined the outline of the NY by exposing it to a light table. The outline of the NY became clearly visible with the introduction of the light source. The light source highlighted the outline of the interlocking “NY” in comparison to its placement between the pinstripes. The outline of the NY when exposed to the light table was examined and matched to the pinstripes to determine that this was the exact jersey worn by Joe DiMaggio during his 1936 rookie season.
– The photo showed that the first pinstripe started slightly to the left of the edge of the NY.
– The second pinstripe passed through the top of the left portion of the Y.
– The third pinstripe passed exactly between the opening of the Y.
– The fourth pinstripe passed through the right edge of the Y.
– The fifth and final pinstripe bordered on the right edge of the logo.
18 different points of the NY logo were matched to the pinstripes and all were deemed to perfectly match jersey to photo. Additionally, by establishing and verifying that the pinstripes were factory dyed in one-inch intervals, this could be used to establish the match between the size of the NY in the photo to the actual measurement produced from the outline made visible under the light table. When examining the photo, it could be seen that the width of the NY of the Yankee crest on the examined 1936 DiMaggio photos spanned the width of 4 pinstripes. It was determined that the pinstripes were issued in one-inch intervals, and the light table measurement of the NY outline established the width of the NY to be 4” across. Therefore the visual inspection of the NY covering the width of 4 one-inch pinstripes supported the actual measurement taken from the 4” image created from the outline of the NY when viewed on the light table. This established the fact that the NY was the proper width as issued by the New York Yankees for Joe DiMaggio to wear on his 1936 home jersey and verified by the matching referenced photographs.
Reference materials included:
Image 1 gettyimage NY8155
Image 2 corbis Lou Gehrig with Joe DiMaggio
Image 3 gettyimage Joe DiMaggio sitting
Image 4 gettyimage Joe DiMaggio batting reverse #9
Sporting News 1936 rookie year home jersey image
2. Known dated photos from 1936 were compared to the examined jersey (cert #303004). Focus was on the pinstripes and their alignment in conjunction with buttons, outline of the NY, and other pinstripes with special focus on the collar/yoke section. Analysis proved the pinstripes were identically placed when compared with the 1936 rookie photo, therefore, proving this jersey was the exact as in the photo.
3. All references below are in regards to the supplied photos. Left relates to the left side of the photo which would be the right portion of the actual jersey.
– First Stripe on the front button flap passed cleanly to the left of all front button.
– Second pinstripe passed cleanly to the right of the front button flap and runs upward to the collar line
– Third pinstripe in the collar line was contained only to the collar line area.
– Fourth pinstripe in the collar line was longer than the third and contained only in the collar line area.
– Fifth pinstripe in the collar line was longer than the fourth and split the middle on the third and fourth pinstripes on the jersey front.
– The four pinstripes in the left collar line were all consistent with the provided 1936 photo.
– The four pinstripes in the left collar line perfectly matched the underlying pinstripes found on the left front chest of the jersey.
– The striping on the photo of the left shoulder aligns perfectly with the left front chest pinstriping.
4. 9 was worn by Joe DiMaggio during his 1936 season. Photo Image 4 the sporting news, 1936, Joe DiMaggio batting reverse #9 and the Joe DiMaggio Albums. G.P. Putman Publishers, 1989 supported this.
5. When comparing the jersey (cert #303004) to the provided photos, the photos all show a full length sleeve appearing on the jersey. The examined jersey has shorted sleeves. The edges appear to be rough-cut and not factory sewn.
In summary of the process of photo analysis, MEARS determined that the examined jersey, certification number 303004 (jersey), was an exact photo match to the photo provided and referenced.
Wear and condition
The jersey (cert #303004) was also examined for condition and wear. The jersey exhibits signs of significant wear. The amount of wear would be consistent with use from the majority of a season. Although issued to a minor league player, the jersey does not exhibit the excessive wear commonly associated with jerseys that were worn for seasons of minor league play. Most importantly, the jersey remains free from the addition of a minor league affiliates logo or team name. The jersey remains in remarkable original condition. Wear is manifested by even toning of the fabric. Wear is found in the collar area and the fabric shows more toning and fraying and compacting of the fabric in that area, but again, this is associated with legitimate game wear.
The shoulders do not show excessive wear. This area was examined, as this is an area that shows the most wear when a jersey was re-issued to be worn for more than one season. Small pinholes were found on the right side of the jersey.
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. While the first night game was played at Crosely Field in Cincinnati on May 24th, 1935, the Yankees did not begin playing night baseball at Yankee Stadium until May 28th, 1946.
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.
Included is a pair of rookie Joe DiMaggio pants. Spalding manufactures the pants. Joe Di Maggio 9 appears in the waistband in the same red thread as the shirt. The same period 1936 Spalding tag appears to the right of the chainstitching. The pants were manufactured with belt loops and two back pockets. The pants are all original and exhibit wear consistent with the jersey. These pants were the very ones issued with the jersey during 1936 to complete the Yankees standard issue home uniform.
Based on the total evaluation of the uniform presented, 303004 (jersey) & 303005 (pants), MEARS is confident to emphatically state this is an all original Joe DiMaggio uniform consisting of jersey and pants. The jersey has its original shell, proper tagging, was originally issued with an authentic and properly sized NY logo, and numbered with an original 9. The uniform matches the photos of him wearing this exact jersey and style of pants during his rookie season of 1936. Someone other than Joe DiMaggio shortened the sleeves at a later time. All of the 1936 Yankees home photos of Joe DiMaggio support this as being his rookie jersey.
With only 7 known Joe DiMaggio jerseys examined to date and only one other home (1948), this is the earliest known home Joe DiMaggio jersey ever offered. We have graded this jersey an A6.5 due to the removal of the NY and cut sleeves. The clearly visible outline of the NY and its placement in conjunction with the vertical pinstriping was instrumental in the verifying of authenticity and the attribution of this jersey to Joe DiMaggio for use during his 1936 rookie season.
It should also be noted that the removal of the NY serves as a very important fact as to the jerseys survival of the last 69 years. After being worn by Joe DiMaggio during his rookie year of 1936, the jersey was sent to the minor leagues where it was issued to Charles “Smoke” Mason. At some point shortly thereafter, the new owner put the jersey away for safe keeping. The minor leaguer with an appreciation for the great Joe DiMaggio saved a uniform that would soon become a very historical item. The removal of the NY was a very common practice on period Yankees jerseys and all original examples are few and far between as the Yankees sent the majority of their jerseys into their minor league system. The historical importance of this jersey with the supporting photographic documentation easily overcomes the absence of the NY and cut sleeves. At the time of examination, a more historical Joe DiMaggio jersey does not exist.
Troy R. Kinunen