In the last 60 days I have looked at roughly 30 shirts. This is about my max capacity for any number of reasons. While on line references are a useful tool to support research, there is only so much you can tell from looking at a picture on the web. I thought I would share this evaluation with you since it did not involve internet resources. The references I used were all things I could reach out and touch; from the exemplar uniforms to the period yearbooks. I am the first to admit that I can’t do this in all cases since I don’t have nor will ever have an on hand example of every uniform ever made.
My point in all of this is if you can decide what it is you want to collect, invest some time and money in building an appropriate reference library. I am still first and foremost a collector and researcher. I truly know how hard it is to spend money on something you might use as opposed to something you really want. The sad truth is, in not doing this, it can actually cost you more money in the long run. It can also tend to sour you on the very things that you seek to enjoy.
SUBJECT: 1985 Cal Ripken Baltimore Orioles Home Jersey
For the purpose of evaluation and description, this jersey is referred to as a 1985 Cal Ripken Baltimore Orioles Home 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 44 with 2 inches of extra length.
MEARS Cert # 303855 (1985 Cal Ripken Road Jersey-A10 with provenance) is also a size 44 with an extra 2” of length in the tail. The problems with is offered jersey are two fold:
1. The tagging annotating the extra length is atypical when compared to other period Rawlings Products. (PLATE I)
2. This offered jersey does not actually feature any extra length in the tail when compared to other period Rawlings Products. (PLATE II)
Tagging: The Rawling’s manufacturer tag and supplemental tagging for year/set and extra length show inconsistent use/wear when compared to rest of the jersey. The jersey body is soiled in places and the jersey is missing two buttons, yet all of this tagging shows little or no use/wear. There are also signs that a tag has been trimmed from the rear of the neck area. If you look at period references such as the 1986 Orioles team yearbook, you can see that retail products (tagged in the neck) where available for purchase. By 1985, Cal Ripken had already won an AL Rookie of the Year Award (1982) and an AL Most Valuable Player Award (1983) so it is not unreasonable to assume that either Ripken jerseys or blanks would have been available for retail purchase as well. (PLATE III).
Provenance/History: At the time of evaluation, no provenance was offered with this jersey.
Evaluation Findings: Based on my physical examination of this jersey and supporting data, it is my opinion that this jersey DOES NOT posses all of the characteristics you would expect to find in a 1985 Baltimore Orioles home jersey supplied by Rawlings for use and wear by Cal Ripken during the 1985 season.
As such the final grade for this jersey with MEARS hologram number 310891 is Unable to Authenticate.
As always, enjoy what you collect and collect what you enjoy.
MEARS Auth, LLC
For questions and comments about this article, please feel free to drop me a line at DaveGrob1@aol.com