I think we have all heard the phrase around the hobby “I’ve got a theory.” In some cases they are based on research, hunch, or the fact that someone simply has an item. Occasionally, these theories become accepted as facts over time because they have never really been questioned or examined. I decided to write this piece with one purpose in mind and the focus is not on the findings, but a process. That process is detailing what I think should be an acceptable standard of research to support a theory. It involves comparative manufacturer characteristics, imagery analysis, and the idea that theories should be explained in such a way that others can evaluate the findings in the form of public scrutiny. This is far better than the often accepted hobby/industry standard of “that’s what I have always been told.” I think we will all agree that when we were kids, we hated to hear the justification “because I said so.”
To add a bit of context to this work, let’s reflect on some of the things that have caused theories to emerge over the years. Often time they come in the form of an auction description in which a theory is offered to place an item at a hall mark event such as the World Series. The reason for this is obvious. Items linked to things like the World Series command a higher price. When you begin to dig deeper into some of these theories, you will find that the answer given is nothing more than “that’s what I was told.” Well let’s see if we can do a little bit better than that with this theory.
My theory is that the NY Giants wore their 1952 uniforms in the 1951 World Series. Before going any further about what I think, let’s establish what we know.
1.The NY Giants uniforms wore MacGregor/MacGregor-Goldsmith uniforms at this time. This can be shown through known examples as well as looking at photographs and finding the darker MacGregor style buttons on the uniforms.
2.During the regular season in 1951, the New York Giants wore the NL 75th Anniversary patch on the left shoulder. They did not wear this patch on their uniforms during the 1951 World Series. A study of images and film footage from the Series will confirm this.
At this point when working with a theory, you have to spend time trying account for other possibilities such as the NY Giants just removed the patches.
3. We know that the NY Giants wore the 1951 NL 75th Anniversary in spring training in 1952. This is shown in Corbis image #BE058220 dated 1952 and taken in Phoenix, AZ. These are 1951 NY Giants road uniforms. Other teams, like the Pittsburgh Pirates, also wore the NL 75 Anniversary Patch in spring training in 1952. This can be confirmed by looking at the Pirates 1952 Yearbook and focusing on photos players who did not play with the Pirates in 1951 such as James Suchkecki, Forrest Main, and George Pettit just to name a few.
As an intelligence officer, my commanders have always required that I make a differentiation between what I think and what I know. I think that it appears highly unlikely that the Giants would have removed a patch for the World Series and then gone through the time and expense to re-apply it to uniforms for a season in which it had had no relevance. By that I mean there is no significance to wearing a 75th Anniversary patch during the 76th Season. We also know that these patches were not worn again in the 1952 campaign as photographic evidence will support.
Here is where you either have to accept or reject the possibility that the 1951 NY Giants World Series uniforms where not the same ones wore by the club in the 1951 season. I believe that the uniforms worn in the series are not the regular season uniforms.
This brings up a couple of possibilities:
1.The NY Giants just ordered another run of uniforms for the series.
2.The NY Giants used the 1952 uniforms early.
Here is where manufacturers’ characteristics can come into play. Consider what other teams besides the NY Giants wore MacGregor/MacGregor-Goldsmith uniforms during this period. They include:
The Cincinnati Reds
The Brooklyn Dodgers
The Cleveland Indians
The NY Giants road uniforms manufactured by MacGregor/Goldsmith in 1951 feature the player name sewn to a swatch of felt sewn into and through the single layer of material in the back of the neck. The NY Giants road jerseys for 1952 uniforms are without any such player identification. You may ask why I have focused on only the road jerseys. This is because not all of these teams listed above featured MacGregor-Goldsmith as the supplier of home uniforms so you cannot use the home jerseys as the basis of single manufacturer to evaluate manufacturers characteristics. However, with respect to home uniforms as it could apply to this theory, if you agree that the Giants wore different road uniforms in the World Series, then I feel you could safely assume they did the same with homes.
1951 NY Giants Road examples for reference with names in the collar
Don Mueller Road Lelands June 1997
Davey Williams Road Lelands December 1996
Willie Mays Road Halper Auction
George Specner Road Lelands May 2002
Leo Durocher July 1998
1952 NY Giants Road examples for reference without names in the collar
Leo Durocher Road Lelands October 2000
Hank Thompson Road Lelands June 1997
Wes Westrum Road Grey Flannel December 2002
Other MacGreor teams road jerseys with names in collar
1949 “Spencer” New York Giants Road Jersey Guernsey’s Hunts October 2003
1951 Cincinnati Reds Road Luke Sewell Halper Auction
1951 Grady Hatton Cincinnati Reds Road Jersey (authors private collection)
1951 Roy Campanella Brooklyn Dodgers Road Jersey Lelands August 1992
1951 Preacher Rose Brooklyn Dodgers Road jersey Mastro November 1998
1952 Joe Black Brooklyn Dodgers Road jersey Sotheby’s April 1994
1952 Lou Brissie Cleveland Indians Road jersey Mastro August 2004
1952 Eddie Pelligrini Cincinnati Reds Road Jersey (authors private collection)
1952 Dick Sisler Cincinnati Reds Road Jersey Guerney’s-Hunts October 2003
1954 Don Zimmer Brooklyn Dodgers Road Jersey Mastro November 1998
1954 Leo Durocher NY Giants Road Jersey Mastro November 1998 and Grey Flannel December 2006.
1954 Ken Raffensberger Cincinnati Reds Road Jersey (authors private collection)
What this data suggests is that the 1952 NY Giants road jerseys are atypical as compared to both team and manufacturers characteristics from the period. I realize these are small samples, but I have not seen a 1952 NY Giants road jersey sewn with the player name in the collar nor others of these same teams from the same period. The other thing I found interesting is that the 1951 Giants uniforms appear to show up in greater frequency than the 1952 jerseys. Might this because the 1952’s, which I suggest were worn in the World Series, may have been retained by players? Just a thought but I would rather focus on team and manufacturers characteristics.
When looking at things found atypical across both team and manufacturers patterns, you have to then go back and look at the environment for possible explanations relative to what you are seeing. The missing player identification in the 1952 NY Giants jerseys could be explained within the context of the theory as a function of time.
The New York Giants clinched the NL Pennant on October 3 and Game 1 of the 1951 World Series was held on 4 October. I am not suggesting that these uniforms were made over night. I am suggesting that they where taken “as is” and were planned for use as such. This theory has to be looked at in within the context as someone saying that the Giants wore the 1951 uniforms and removed the patches. Remember these same uniforms with the patches were worn in Spring Training 1952. If it is said that the Giants wore special 1951 uniforms that were worn in the World Series, they too would be subject to the same time constraint.
The idea that teams wore the next years’ uniforms in the World Series is not something that can not be seen outside of this example. Consider the 1970 Cincinnati Reds. These uniforms worn by the Reds are not simply a rush order of much of the same, but reflect the change in style worn the next year. The Cincinnati Reds regular season road jerseys in 1970 featured a red over white twill lettering of Cincinnati. These were worn through the 1970 NLCS. The World Series jerseys for 1970 and the regular season road flannels are a plain single red lettering.
Had Bobby Thomson not hit his home run, it would have been interesting to see what the Dodgers would have worn in the World Series. Their 1952 uniforms featured numbers on the front that were not present in 1951. This same time frame of the 1951 World Series offers another interesting point of reference for comparison. The NY Yankees clinched the AL Pennant on September 28th. Their 1951 World Series uniforms also do not appear to be the same as the regular season uniforms. While tagged for 1951, the Joe DiMaggio uniform I evaluated from the Joe DiMaggio estate for Hunts Auctions was without the AL Golden Anniversary Patch and showed no signs that one was ever applied. This uniform was retained by the family as and represented to be the last uniform that DiMaggio wore. Joe did donate a 1951 home jersey with the Golden Anniversary Patch to the Baseball Hall of Fame as seen on page 750 of the DiMaggio Albums Volume II and on page 286 of Baseball as America. Another interesting thing to note is that the player identification in these two uniforms are not the same. The regular season jersey has “J. DiMaggio 51” chain stitched in the tail and the 1951 World Series uniform has his name chain stitched on a felt swatch in the collar.
All of this reinforces the idea that the regular season uniforms and post season uniforms from 1951 are not the same. This does open the possibility as mentioned earlier that the Giants may have just ordered additional uniforms for the 1951 series, but then you are still left with the team and manufacturers irregularity for the 1952 Giants road jerseys and the same time constraint common to both scenarios.
I started to take a bit of an interest in some of these “World Series” theories a while back when I was asked to evaluate a NY Yankees home jersey that was said to be from the World Series because the player identification was sewn in red thread. When I asked about the basis of theory, the response was that this is “what we had always been told by a couple of experts who have had this theory for some time.” What I found surprising is that of the over 120 NY Yankees uniforms from the early 1950s through the early 1960s I had in my data base, I could not find that the data from these examples bore this out. Given the number of World Series the Yankees played in between 1950 and 1961 (10), this indicator should have been widely present. What the people offering the jersey and these experts they relied on had fail to notice was the manufacturers characteristic for both font style and crest style for the period in question as it related to the manufacturer. This is not about poking someone in the eye, but rather poking holes in a theory and the basis for it.
As I said at the very beginning of this piece, I am not so much concerned that you either agree or disagree with my theory with respect to the NY Giants 1951 World Series uniforms. I will also be the first to admit I would like to see a larger number of jerseys in this comparison. I myself tend to believe this may well in fact be the case based on what I have discussed and shown here, but for now it remains a theory. What I do hope is that you come away from this article with a context and ideas for evaluating what might or might not be part of a process for establishing a theory… a theory that is more than “because I sad so.”
MEARS Auth, LLC