I recently acquired a style I have been after for a while; that being a “War Era” Yankees home flannel. This jersey not only fills a hole in my collection/reference library, but it also provides some insights into manufacturers characteristics that are helpful when researching uniforms of the period. While the jersey is without any sort of supplemental year identification (not uncommon), I was able to date it to 1945 based on the number worn by Steve Roser. While not a difficult thing to do, dating the jersey to 1945 is where the fun begins so let’s get started.
In the past, I have written on numerous occasions about teams carrying over uniforms from a previous season as well as teams being provided uniforms by more than one manufacturer in a single year. In any number of those instances, my research and subsequent articles have included the New York Yankees. When folks talk about Yankee home jerseys, typically all you hear about is the use of “pin stripping” as a means to assess the authenticity or dating of the jersey. If you have studied Yankee uniforms in any detail, you will also have found that the NY crest on the front does change somewhat what from year to year and does vary between manufacturers. This jersey provides us with a marvelous case study with respect to many of these same facets.
As you can see from the images shown in PLATE I, we have three different styles of Yankee home jerseys worn in 1945. Not only are there variations in the crest style, but there is also a difference in width of the pinstripe itself. This continues to suggest two manufacturers and one carry over. Data that I have gathered over the years suggests that these two manufacturers for Yankee home jerseys at this time are Spalding and Wilson. Data also suggests that the wider pinstripe is probably a Spalding product.
Now look at the images in PLATE II. We see an image of Steve Roser from 1944 and the style of crest he is wearing can also be seen later in 1945 (D&A). With the Spalding uniforms from this period featuring the wider pin stripes, then I would conclude that the jersey worn by Roser in the 1944 image is most likely as Wilson jersey as well. As a uniform collector and researcher, this is valuable information since it helps to fill in gaps we have for the body of information related to a period of time when surviving jerseys are scare (SEE War Time Baseball Uniforms by MEARS).
I make the point of laying all of this out as I have recently begun what will likely be a rather long term project focused on the study of the NY crest over time as it relates to both year and manufacturer. The various aspects of this study will include both cut/style as well as size. When this is complete, we should be then be better able to look at period images and discern the likely manufacturer based on these various manufactures’ characteristics and attributes of the crest.
As always, collect what you enjoy and enjoy what you collect. If you have occasion to go the National, I will be on hand at the MEARS booths to answer questions and talk uniforms throughout the event.
MEARS Auth, LLC
For questions or comments on this article, please feel to drop me a line at DaveGrob1@aol.com