I wanted to get this information out as this shirt was the topic of great interest and debate within the hobby as soon as it appeared on E-Bay. Some of the main issues were the numeral font style and the issue of Wilson as a manufacturer. I have written and shown very recently that it is not unheard of for a team to have more than one supplier of uniforms (either home or road) in a given year. Simply refer back to the article on the 1962 Willie Mays home jersey.

The question in cases where you don’t find images of the manufacturer’s tags, how do you know a team may have had more than one manufacturer. I have written about this as well in the past and it has to do with identifying manufacturers characteristics for the year or period in question. An important thing to do and show, which I feel I have done in this case, is showing how to also exclude a manufacturer based on these same things.

There are many things I enjoy about my relationship with MEARS and one is getting a chance to see and handle jerseys I would love to own, but will never be able to afford. I have always been a Gil Hodges fan and this was a special jersey to have the chance to look at. Below is my Letter of Opinion on this 1951 Gil Hodges Brooklyn Dodgers Home Jersey Manufactured by Wilson.

SUBJECT: Gil Hodges 1951 Brooklyn Dodges Home Jersey

For the purpose of evaluation and description, this jersey is referred to as a 1951 Gil Hodges Brooklyn Dodgers Home Jersey. After a detailed visual inspection and evaluation of this jersey using lighted magnification, a light table, UV light, and various references as noted below, I offer the following noted observations:

The jersey is identified as being that of Gil Hodges from 1951 by the player name “Hodges G” sewn in black chain stitch in the collar on a white felt swatch. The swatch has been sewn through only through the first fold in the collar and this area shows no apparent signs of having been re-opened to accommodate this manner of appliqué.

The jersey features a correct period Wilson manufacturers label and faded supplemental tag for laundry instructions. The left front tail also features the year identification sewn in black chain stitch “1951”. All of these characteristics compare very favorably with other 1951 Brooklyn Dodgers home jerseys manufactured by Wilson that have been seen in the hobby.

The lettering and numbering are done in double parallel straight stitch over blue wool based felt. This fabric and appliqué is consistent with a period White Sox home exemplar manufactured as well by Wilson in my personal reference collection as an indication of manufacturers’ characteristics.

With respect to the size of this jersey, it is tagged as a size 42 and this is the true size as measured of this jersey. The tagging is original to this uniform. Other period Gil Hodges jerseys in the MEARS data base include:

1949 Road, Spalding, Size 42: Leland’s August 1992

1954 Home, Rawlings, Size 44: Mastro November 1998

This jersey features a 1951 NL 75th Anniversary Patch on the left sleeve. This is an original and period patch and not a more modern replica. (See Comparative Plate)

Another characteristic of this jersey is the shorter Raglan style sleeve. This is a positive player characteristic and trait for Gil Hodges uniforms of this period. Both the sleeve style (Raglan vs. set-in) and the shorter length are proper and supported by photographic evidence for Gil Hodges in 1951.

The jersey shows signs of significant wear and use. The Dodgers is pulling away from the anchor stitching, most notably in the letters in the top of the upper case “D” tail of the lettering at the button line. This separation permits the viewing of the felt fabric color fade from the original interior color compared to the faded exterior. This is to be expected and should be seen. Portions of the DODGERS may have been re-anchored or re-enforced at some point in time as indicated by presence of a darker blue thread in the outer stitching areas. It appears that the jersey was laundered after this was done given the wool felt has pulled away from it as well. There is even and pronounced gathering of fabric under the Dodgers, the rear numeral “4” and the 1951 National League 75th Anniversary patch.

The jersey shows signs of heavy, but consistent wear and use throughout. The overall fabric wear is heavy, but not stressed. The rear of the neck line shows pronounced soiling. There are small holes in the rear right collar and upper left rear shoulder.

The seven (7) four hole buttons appear original to the jersey, with the second button from the bottom almost cracked in half. This button remains solidly affixed to the jersey.

There was no writing on this jersey at the time of my evaluation.

In looking at this 1951 Gil Hodges Brooklyn Dodgers home jersey, you will notice that both the numerical font style as well as the lettering of DODGERS with respect to button alignment is different from the more commonly found Rawlings examples that have appeared in the hobby. The question then becomes did the Brooklyn Dodgers have more than one supplier of uniforms in a given year and does this extend to within a type by either home or road.

One problem in looking at Brooklyn Dodgers jerseys pre-1952 is that they lack a player number on the front. This makes font style difficult to confirm at times given the predominance of frontal photographic shots. What this means is that you need to look for other defining manufacturers characteristics. For Spalding, Wilson, Rawlings, and MacGregor Gold-Smith and Brooklyn Dodgers jerseys, this can be found in the lettering of DODGERS with respect to button alignment. This can be seen on both home and road Brooklyn Dodger uniforms from the 1951 season.

Photographic evidence does confirm the presence of both styles of numerical fonts as well as the button/DODGERS alignment in 1951. The other thing to note is that this is not unique to that season. Photographic references provided confirm this as well.

In looking at the two other 1951 Wilson jerseys pictured as references, you will notice they feature manufacturer’s tagging (A) and supplemental player identification that is the same as the Hodges (B). They also feature the same button/DODGERS lettering alignment. (C) (See Annotations for A,B, C, on attached Plates)

In order to rule of that any or all of these are salesman’s samples, you have to establish photographic proof that this lettering style is in fact found in period images. I have and they are provided. This gives us three examples of what a Wilson product should look like in images as compared to another manufacturers’ product from the same year. Although MacGregor-Goldsmith also supplied uniforms to the Brooklyn Dodgers during this period of the late 1940s and early 1950s, the uniforms pictured are not MacGregor-Goldsmith products as indicated by the button style. MacGregor-Goldsmith and Spalding products from this period share the same spatial relationship with respect to button/DODGERS as the Rawlings products.

1950 Gene Hermanski Home Jersey, Spalding. Mastro Lot 309, November 1998

1951 Pee Wee Reese Home Jersey, Rawlings. Mastro Lot 310, November 1998

1951 Preacher Roe Road Jersey, MacGregor-Goldsmith. Mastro Lot 311, November 1998

What this tells me is that Wilson is a supplier of home and road uniforms to the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1951 and the uniforms with numeral font style and button/DODGERS alignment found in photographs that share these same characteristics as this Gil Hodges jersey are Wilson products. This underscores once again the value in knowing and understanding manufacturer’s characteristics. Photographic evidence as seen and provided for Gil Hodges in 1951, does confirm his wearing of the Wilson style product for both home and road jerseys.

Another characteristic of this jersey is the shorter Raglan style sleeve. This is a positive player characteristic and trait for Gil Hodges uniforms of this period. Both the sleeve style (Raglan vs. set-in) and the shorter length are proper and supported by photographic evidence for Gil Hodges in 1951.

References used for this evaluation and subsequent opinion included, but not limited to:


Getty Images

Corbis Images


Baseball Classics: The All Star Game from Ruth to Mays (1933-1955)

Ken Burns Baseball: Inning 7- The Capital of Baseball (1950-1960)

Dodgers: A Team for All Time-The Team of Champions

When it was a Game II (HBO Films)

Print Media:

Brooklyn Dodger Yearbooks (1949-1952)

Summer in the City: New York Baseball 1947-1957 by Vic Ziegel

Baseball’s Great Dynasties: The Dodgers by Peter Bjarkman

The Brooklyn Dodgers: An Illustrated Tribute by Donald Honig

The Image of Their Greatness by Donald Honig

Baseball in the 50’s: A Decade of Transition by Donald Honig

Jackie Robinson: An Intimate Portrait by Rachel Robinson & Lee Daniels

Mays, Mantle, Snider: A Celebration by Donald Honig

Brooklyn’s Dodgers: The Bums, The Borough and The Best of Baseball by Carl Prince

The Era 1947-1957: When the Yankees, the Giants, and the Dodgers Ruled the World by Roger Kahn.

The Golden Age of Baseball: Publications International

The National League: A History by Joel Zoss and John Bowman

Baseball: The Illustrated History of America’s Game by Donald Honig

Assorted wire photos and scrapbooks

Period exemplars of actual uniforms as well as color plates of previously examined uniforms.

Opinion. It is my opinion that jersey posses all the characteristics you would expect to see in a 1951 Brooklyn Dodgers home jersey manufactured by Wilson for issuance and wear by Gil Hodges. That this jersey is all original with the possible exception of the lettering re-enforcement which I can neither place to or exclude as being vintage. It is also my opinion that Wilson be considered an established supplier of home and road jerseys to the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1951. I would assign this jersey a grade of A8. In accordance with the MEARS Grading scale, points are deducted for:

Fading, staining, discoloration – ½

Cracked button- ½

Holes- ½

Broken anchoring stitches on lettering of Dodgers – ½



POST SCRIPT: I have no financial interest in this jersey nor have I or will I receive any form of compensation as a result of its sale at a later date.