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MEARS recently had the opportunity to authenticate an Ernie Banks game worn home jersey from his 1969 season with the Chicago Cubs. Please read the findings from MEARS Auth, LLC’s evaluation below.

MEARS Auth, LLC’s Comments and Working Notes for:
1969 Ernie Banks Chicago Cubs Home Jersey 

Size: The jersey is tagged as and measures as a size 40. This was confirmed both through measurement across the chest and comparing it with period on hand Wilson products in sizes 38, 40, and 42. The size is also appropriate and consistent with period sizing data. This sizing data includes contemporary heights and weight for Banks. As such I would consider this to be an appropriate sized jersey for Ernie Banks at this point in his career. (PLATE I) 

Manufacturers Tagging: The jersey features a c 1967-1973 style Wilson manufacturers tag. The jersey also features period appropriate supplemental tagging for player (14), year (69), set # (1), and size (40). All of this has been chain stitched to a swatch of wool blend flannel material and sewn into the rear of the collar (only through the frontal fabric panel). The collar area of the garment was examined in detail to ensure that this form of supplemental tagging was not added post manufacturer. An additional year identifier can be found in the lower left front tail, just above the Wilson tag in the form of chain stitched “1969” sewn directly into the garment itself. All of this is considered to be original to the jersey and consistent with period Chicago Cubs home and road jerseys in my data base. (PLATE II) 

Construction/Style: The jersey is constructed of a professional grade white wool flannel blend pinstriped fabric. Both the width of the pinstripes as well as the spacing between them is consistent with other pinstriped period Wilson major league grade fabrics in my on hand library (Twins, Phillies, and Braves). The sleeves are “Set-In” style and cut to a length of 3” or an above to mid bicep cut. This style and length of sleeve is period appropriate for Banks as confirmed by contemporary images. The left breast features an original 6 5/8” Chicago Cubs logo, constructed on a cotton twill patch. The rear numerals are an appropriate size and font style as confirmed by period images. Both sleeves feature patches that are year/period appropriate for the Chicago Cubs in 1969; this too is something that is confirmed by period images as well. (PLATES III-VI) 

Use/Wear: The jersey shows signs of moderate to heavy use and wear. Moderate to heavy wear is assessed to the twill numbering as well as the anchor stitching throughout the body of the garment. Anchor stitches are broken on the rear numeral “4” and this has been left un-repaired. This does however allow the underside of the numeric applique to be observed as the presence of the original adhesive residue helps to confirm the originality of the current #14 on the jersey. All seven of the buttons remain firmly affixed and are assessed as being original to the garment. Both patches on the jersey (left sleeve-“Cubbie Bear”) & (right sleeve- MLB 100th Anniversary) are assessed as being period original offerings and not replicas as well as being original to the garment. At the time of my evaluation, the only writing on the garment was an autograph of “Ernie Banks” on the left front mid-section of the garment. I offer no opinion on the autograph, but only note that is present at the time of my evaluation. (PLATES VII-VIII) 

Provenance: The garment was accompanied by copies of letters from Mr. Dick Dobbins (21 March 1993) as well as one from Mr. Mike Specht (27 March 1993). The Dobbins letter is one offering an opinion as to the authenticity of the garment, but it is largely testimonial without any supporting information. The Specht letter details the source of the jersey as being a Bill Griswold, a bat boy for the San Diego Padres in the late 1960s and early 1970s. A copy of Mr. Griswold’s 1970 Padres Employee card is also included. The offered provenance appears to be both reasonable and verifiable with respect to corroborating how the jersey first came into the hobby. 

Opinion: In my opinion this jersey possesses all the characteristics you would expect to see in a jersey manufactured in 1969 by Wilson for use and wear by Ernie Banks. The jersey is assessed as being in all original condition and free of any signs of alteration or contrived use or wear. 

The MEARS worksheet and grading criteria provides for 5 categories for which points may deducted, I found this reason to deduct points: 

Category 5: -.5 broken anchor stitching on rear numeral “4” 

As such, the final grade for this jersey bearing hologram #313948 is A9.5 

Enclosures: PLATES I-VIII