As part of my support to the Bushing and Kinunen MEARS For Sale site, I’m sometimes asked to review items offered to Dave & Troy. It is not so much that they can’t make an informed purchase decision on their own, but if they are going to decline on a purchase for a reason other than they just don’t wish to purchase an item (price, condition, market etc…), they think it is very helpful to let the seller know the specific reasons why from and educational standpoint.
In this case, Dave and Troy were offered what was thought to be a 1912 Brooklyn Dodgers road uniform. At first glance it had a number of positive qualities. The overall appearance seemed correct on a macro scale when compared to the style as seen in every uniform collector’s best friend, Mark Okkonen’s “Baseball Uniforms of the 20th Century. The manufacturer of the uniform was Spalding and the manufacturers tag was appropriate for the time period in question. The “B” for Brooklyn style on the left arm seemed appropriate as well.
In looking at period images, I did find an image for a Frank Allen. Allen was with the Dodgers 1912-1914. The uniform style he is wearing in the picture is not likely to be from 1913 as it features no solid color fabric button area color as seen in 1913 home and road jerseys. It is not from 1914 since there is no “B” on the chest. The collar style of the offered uniform is a sun collar and the one that Allen is wearing is a “cadet style” collar.
If you look at the jersey that was offered, the pinstripes are narrow and are spaced apart about the width of a button. In the jersey Allen is wearing, the pinstripe is much wider and spaced almost twice the width of a button. Also, the buttons on the offered are dark. The buttons on the Allen jersey are white or at least a lighter color than the jersey.
With older images and uniforms, it is at times difficult to tell the difference between a dirty white uniform or a clean gray one. Here is where you have to get the most out of all the image offers, imagery analysis.
I am certain the uniform that Allen is wearing this is a road jersey and not a home jersey. In 1912, The Dodgers were still playing in what was called “Washington Ball Park” as Ebbets Field did not open until 1913. The backdrop is not Ebbets field and it is not “Washington Park.” Once again, my thanks go out to Mark Okkonen. Mr. Okkonen also authored a fantastic book titled “Baseball Memories 1900-1909.” As part of this effort, he included fantastic graphics for the ball yards of the days. These include what look like scale diagrams of the surrounding buildings and areas. The detail in these is amazing.
For Washington Park, the large building you can see in the image I provided that can also be seen in Okkonen’s diagram and is identified as “Guinea Flats.” (page 37). If you look at his rendering of the Polo Grounds from this time frame (page 58), you will see the same two flag poles in the stands as well as building by shape and location are the same.
There a few “take-aways” from this article. The first is some information that you might find helpful in looking at early 20th century uniforms. Next is to highlight what imagery analysis is as it is not “photo matching.” Lastly to highlight that if you offer an item to Dave and Troy, while you may not make a sale, you could learn a little more about the item you have.
As always, collect what you enjoy and enjoy what you collect.
MEARS Auth, LLC
For questions and comments on this article, please feel free to drop me a line at DaveGrob1@aol.com