Once again I find myself writing about pinstripes. This is an often discussed topic as collectors and those selling jerseys will often exclaim “photo match” because “look how the pinstripes line up in the shoulders.” This is not a re-hash of my opinion on the sufficiency of this statement, since some in the hobby/industry have bought into ways (figuratively and literally) to explain the reason why they don’t, but still can be the same shirt.
This is more about understanding that a pinstripe on a uniform represents far more than just a series of lines on a jersey. It is something that needs to be studied and understood within the concepts of manufacturer and measure; two areas that are not addressed by the “photo matching crowd.” This is not to say there is not value in using pinstripes in this manner, but my fear is that over time collectors and the hobby/industry will become further entrenched in this concept because “this is what I have always been told.” Thank goodness that Galileo and Columbus where not students of this school of thought.
Let’s begin with the concept of looking at a pinstripe within the context of manufacture and as a manufacturer’s characteristic. This is the natural place to start as it has bearing on how you use the second aspect; measure. Consider for a moment that a pinstripe represents both a function of fashion as well as an indicator with respect to the technologies and techniques used to incorporate it into a design as seen on a uniform over varying of time. In easier to understand terms, this means that the pinstripes we see on uniforms have changed over time. This is more of a function of the manufacturer of the fabric and not the finished product we see as a jersey. When you consider that uniform manufacturers purchased fabric in bulk as a raw material to be used as part of a finished product, this becomes a bit more clear and practical. The various aspects of a pinstripe can be seen as something that has changed over time. When you know and understand this, you will be gin to see the greater value of the pinstripe.
The specific areas of the pinstripe as part of a manufactured fabric that should be noted fall into three areas; Pattern, Width, and Spacing. I will use three groupings of examples to illustrate these points.
1919-1922 Walter Johnson Washington Nationals Road Jersey (Spalding)
1951 Joe DiMaggio New York Yankees Home Jersey (Spalding)
1960 Bobby Tiefenauer Cleveland Indians Home Jersey (Wilson)
1965 Chuck Cottier Washington Senators Home Jersey (MacGregor)
1954 Matt Batts Chicago White Sox Home Jersey (Wilson)
1967 Ron Clark Minnesota Twins Home Jersey (Wilson)
1971 Marty Perez Atlanta Braves Home Jersey (Wilson)
This refers to the construction of the pinstripe as part of the garment. Over the years I have had the great privilege and good fortune to evaluate and offer opinions on pinstripe uniforms spanning decades, manufacturers and that have included some of the true greats of the game; Walter Johnson, Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, and Pete Rose. I have also owned numerous commons spanning these same periods and manufacturers as well as these are helpful points of comparison. The pattern is both a function of how the garment was woven as well as the material used to form the pinstripe
GROUP I: Same manufacturer over decades. Johnson Spalding is almost a block pattern and the DiMaggio Spalding presents zig-zag pattern.
GROUP II: Different Manufacturers, same time period. Both show small block type pattern.
GROUP III: Same manufacturer over three decades. Pattern changes over time.
This refers to the width of the actual pinstripe. This is a function of a number of factors that include pattern as well as material.
1919-1922 Walter Johnson Washington Nationals Road Jersey (Spalding) 4mm
1951 Joe DiMaggio New York Yankees Home Jersey (Spalding) 3mm
1960 Bobby Tiefenauer Cleveland Indians Home Jersey (Wilson) 2.75mm
1965 Chuck Cottier Washington Senators Home Jersey (MacGregor) 2.75mm
1954 Matt Batts Chicago White Sox Home Jersey (Wilson) 2mm
1967 Ron Clark Minnesota Twins Home Jersey (Wilson) 3mm
1971 Marty Perez Atlanta Braves Home Jersey (Wilson) 3mm
This refers to the distance between to similar points on any two sequential pinstripes.
1919-1922 Walter Johnson Washington Nationals Road Jersey (Spalding) 31mm
1951 Joe DiMaggio New York Yankees Home Jersey (Spalding) 24mm
1960 Bobby Tiefenauer Cleveland Indians Home Jersey (Wilson) 24mm
1965 Chuck Cottier Washington Senators Home Jersey (MacGregor) 24mm
1954 Matt Batts Chicago White Sox Home Jersey (Wilson) 23mm
1967 Ron Clark Minnesota Twins Home Jersey (Wilson) 24mm
1971 Marty Perez Atlanta Braves Home Jersey (Wilson) 24mm
The above information is only useful if it is understood AND applied with respect to measure. There are two aspects of measure that are useful when evaluating pinstripe jerseys. One is explicit and the other is implicit. Explicit refers to using the above type of information to compare the same aspects in another jersey. Implicit refers to using this type of information to ascertain other things about a jersey in question. It is most useful when comparing a jersey to an image that someone claims to have “photo matched”.
Consider this example. The jersey in a picture and the one you are examining are said to be the same based on a “photo-match” (don’t get me started on those people who will claim this with only images of say the front of the jersey) of the pinstripes in the shoulders. In the example provided we know that these two shirts are clearly not the same jersey. Also we have been afforded the luxury of being able to photograph them in the same manner and at the same time. We also are able to take accurate measurements of both jerseys. This is important to note as this is not possible when comparing a jersey in an image to the one on hand. Notice how the shoulder alignment is practically identical in shirts manufactured four years apart. This is not the case of working with a partial image that may have been enlarged or enhanced to improve detail.
For the purpose of illustrating the principle of measure, we are assuming that your on hand jersey and your photographed jersey are in fact the same one. If they are, then all things should be the same. For the ease in illustration, we will assume that the spacing of the pinstripe in Jersey A (The Jersey On Hand) is one inch. We assume the same thing about the spacing of the pinstripe in Jersey B (The “Photo Matched Jersey”) based on how they appear to line up as well as what we might know about spacing from a given time period or manufacturer.
We know we would not be able to record actual measurements of both the jerseys since only one is on hand and the other is in a picture. Here is where the concept of proportion comes in.
The Jersey on hand (A) has a sleeve length that is known to be 6 ½ inches, or 6 ½ times the size of the spacing between pinstripes. Now notice the jersey that was “photo matched”… You will see that the jersey on hand (A) has a sleeve length that is in excess of the spacing of 5 pinstripes. The “photo matched” jersey (B) has a sleeve length that is much less proportionally with respect to what you would expect to see if they where in fact the same one.
A couple of things to note about this example. In this case, the jersey on hand (A) has a sleeve length that is greater than the “photo matched” jersey (B). They can not be the same jersey as sleeves don’t grow over time. In cases when this is reversed and the sleeve length on hand is shorter than the one in the image, it could have been shortened later, but then it can not be considered all original nor can you claim a “photo match”.
This same concept of measure can also be used to also evaluate things like the size of crests, numbering, and lettering as well since we are dealing with an object of known size. From the perspective of understanding how pinstripes and changed, it is also useful in spotting more modern jerseys that have been altered to appear as a vintage gamer.
My hope is that after reading this piece you will look at pinstriped jerseys a bit differently and begin to see that there is far greater value in them, far beyond alignment and “photo matching.”
MEARS Auth, LLC