I have always liked Cal Ripken and remember watching the 1991 All Star Game after spending much of the previous year in the Persian Gulf. I had missed seeing the Reds in the 1990 World Series having to be content with catching the games via the Armed Forces Radio Network. I was excited to learn this jersey was being sent for me to research and evaluate since it brought back memories of a point in time when watching baseball was purely a recreational pastime. This evaluation effort took a bit longer than usual as I had to track down some decent references. The bulk of the research/reference library I have built is focused on time frame prior to 1980.
One of things I picked up was the MLB/A&E Home Video DVD collection on Cal Ripken. Released in 2007, this collection is still readily available and is offered at a variety of prices ranging from under $5.00 (Used) to just over $50.00 (New). The six (6) DVD set features a single documentary spanning Ripken’s career and five single games. The five single games are all represented in some form or fashion in Disc 1. If you collect Ripken or the Orioles in general, I would highly recommend that you look to add it to your reference library.
Getting back to the jersey, since the All Star Game was not held in Baltimore that year (Toronto), this jersey would have had to have been worn during the All Star Game or the home run derby on the preceding day. This was based on the presence of the 1991 All Star Game patch on the right sleeve. Fortunately for me, Disc 1 features footage from both events and that footage was key in helping form an informed opinion about this shirt.
As you add items to your own collection, please consider looking for references beyond Getty and Corbis to support your efforts and also consider looking at the jerseys in a similar manner that I have detailed today. If you do, I think you will find you are able to truly 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.
SUBJECT: 1991 Cal Ripken Baltimore Orioles All Star Game Jersey
For the purpose of evaluation and description, this offered jersey is referred to as a 1991 Cal Ripken Baltimore Orioles All Star Game Jersey. After a detailed visual inspection and evaluation of this jersey using lighted magnification, a light table, a digital microscope, UV light and various references, I offer the following noted problematic observations:
Size: This offered jersey is tagged as a size 48 with supplemental tagging for 2 inches extra length. This is the actual measured size of the jersey and the extra length in the tail is in fact present. The 1991 Street & Smith Baseball Yearbook lists Ripken at 6’, 4”, 223 lbs. Other period Ripken jerseys in the MEARS data base include:
1991, Road; Rawlings. 48+1
1992; Road, Russell. 48 +2
As such I would consider this jersey to be an appropriate size for Cal Ripken during this point in his career.
Manufacturer/Construction/Dating the Jersey: The jersey is manufactured by Rawlings as evident by the embroidered Rawlings on the right sleeve and the Rawlings manufacturers tag on the inside lower left front tail. All tagging is period appropriate and appears to be original to the jersey. The jersey is dated to July 8-9 1991 time frame by the presence of the 1991 All Star Game patch sewn to the right sleeve.
To evaluate this jersey as a 1991 All Star Game jersey, I compared the offered jersey to footage from both the All Star Game Home Run Derby (8 July, Toronto, Canada) and footage from the game itself on 9 July 1991. This footage can be found in the Bonus Features Section of Disc 1 of “Baltimore Orioles Legends- Cal Ripken, Jr- The Iron Man” produced by A&E Home Video/Major League Baseball in 2007.
In looking at this jersey as compared to those wore by Ripken for these two events, you will see that the offered jersey was not worn on 8 July 1991 based on the absence of the All Star Game patch on the jersey worn by Ripken for the Home Run Derby. In addition, the RIPKEN name plate and location of the rear numeral “8” preclude it from being the 8 July 1991 jersey. Footage of the 9 July All Star Game also excludes this jersey from the being the one worn by Ripken based on the same nameplate and rear numeral location issues.
This offered jersey features a missing top button. The footage from the 9 July All Star Game shows that this button was present at the player introductions, the game itself, and the post game interview and presentation of the MVP trophy. As such, this jersey would not be considered a candidate for a scenario involving Ripken wearing multiple jerseys for the game.
Provenance/History: At the time of evaluation, there was no provenance. There is however an Ironclad Authentic’s hologram the jersey (# I 1064057). A check of this hologram number indicates it is for the Cal Ripken autograph which was signed on March 13th 2010.
Evaluation Findings: Based on my physical examination of this jersey and supporting data, it is my opinion that this jersey does not posses the characteristics you would expect to find in a 1991 Baltimore Orioles home jersey supplied by Rawlings for use and wear by Cal Ripken during the 1991 All Star Game or Home Run Derby. Since the jersey features an All Star Game patch and the game was not held in Baltimore that year, the jersey would not have been worn by Ripken in games prior to or after event. The quality of the jersey is such that it may have been ordered for issue, but not worn. However, the jersey does show signs of light to moderate use in the form of wash wear, a missing button, fabric and stitch wear. As such, since this jersey does not appear to have been worn on either 8 or 9 July 2010, the use and wear can not be considered legitimate.
As such the final grade for this jersey with MEARS hologram number 311023 is Unable to Authenticate.
MEARS Auth, LLC
Enclosures: PLATES I-II