This was one of the items we took in for evaluation at the National this year. I have had this article ready for some time, but needed to make sure to folks submitting it had ample time to review my findings. I was amazed to see that as part of the e-Bay description, it was noted that “We showed this jersey to the self-proclaimed ‘experts’ in our hobby and they would not write an LOA on it for an undisclosed reason. They could not prove or disprove the jersey’s authenticity.” Folks this is just plain scary. If there is a person or persons out there right now billing themselves as an expert of baseball uniforms and they could not lay out the multiple problems with this uniform in an objective manner, then what sort of expert are they? Rhetorical question really.
As always, collect what you enjoy and enjoy what you collect. For questions or comments on this evaluation, please feel to drop me a line at DaveGrob1@aol.com.
Subject: 1971 Willie Mays San Francisco Giants Home Jersey
For the purpose of description and evaluation, this jersey is described as a 1971 Willie Mays San Francisco Giants Home Jersey. The basis for this description includes the jersey style and lettering, player identification by number (front and back), as well as the period manufacturers label (McAuliffe ), year/size set identification for “71” and “42”, as well as player identification “Mays” chain stitched in black thread on white felt sewn in the rear of the collar.
There are a number of things about this jersey that I found inconsistent with what I believe I should have expected to see. Specifically:
1. While both Wilson and McAuliffe supplied home jerseys to the San Francisco Giants in 1971, there are inconsistences with certain aspects of the manufacturers tagging. The “box style” tag used to denote the year of 1971 (“71”) is not the type of tag I would have expected to see in a McAuliffe product. I would have expected to find a red box tag as opposed to a blue one that this more typically associated with a Spalding product. I would have also expected to have found the top portion of this “71” box tag affixed under and sewn along with the bottom stitch line of the manufacturers tag. In its present state, this tends to suggest that the “71” box tag was added post manufacturer. (PLATES I-II)
2. The font style used in the construction of “GIANTS” that appears on this jersey is not consistent with either images or period exemplars of a Wilson or a McAuliffe product. (PLATES III-IV)
3. The font style used in the construction of the #24 on the back of the jersey is not consistent with either images or period exemplars of a Wilson or a McAuliffe product. (PLATES V-VI)
4. The supplemental player identification tag that is sewn in the rear of the collar appears to have been added post manufacturer/assembly of the various fabric portions of the garment. I base this opinion on the fact that the thread used in the construction of the body of this jersey and that used to join the various sections of fabric is not the same thread used in the outer rear of the collar. This use of thin or single ply thread is localized to this area and that of the thread used to affix the “71” box tag. This was confirmed by examining the thread used in these areas, and throughout other portions of the jersey using a digital microscope. All of this this leads me to conclude that the collar area was opened up post manufacturer/assembly in order to accommodate adding the supplemental player identification tag in the collar. (PLATE VII)
5. The sleeve style on this jersey is a Raglan sleeve. I would have expected to have found the sleeve style to have been the Set-In type. Numerous pictures from 1971 as found in the 1972 San Francisco Giants yearbook will confirm this. (PLATE VIII)
6. Inconsistent use/wear. The felt and twill fabrics used in the construction of the both the letters and numbers on this jersey show signs of no appreciable use or wear. The fabrics remain fairly firm and rigid. Since the outer black felt portion of these has been affixed with a straight stitch, the underside or the backing of the fabric can be examined. The backing shows no appreciable signs use or aging that typically can be seen in the form of cracking or discoloration. This is in sharp contrast to the condition of the wool blend flannel fabric used as the swatch for the name “Mays” as well as the staining soiling that is present in portions of the jersey, most notably the upper back around the collar area. The orange and black soutache around the collar area also shows signs fabric wear.
Opinion: Based on my physical inspection and evaluation of this jersey, I am lead to conclude that it is not an authentic 1971 Willie Mays San Francisco Giants Home Jersey. The problems or inconsistences I found in the construction, tagging, alpha-numeric fonts, sleeve style, and issues with use/wear serve as the basis for that opinion. Use such, this jersey, bearing MEARS hologram #311754 is deemed as Unable to Authenticate and will identified as such in the MEARS database.
MEARS Auth, LLC
Enclosures: PLATES I-VIII