As lead authenticator, I anxiously awaited the challenge of evaluating this knit Yankees pinstripe. With previous experience, the MEARS research center, and our tools for evaluating, I began the process.
To begin, 1975 was a very good year for Thurman Munson, both defensively, and surprisingly offensively. During the year, Munson won his final gold glove for his work behind the plate. 1975 did find Munson taking command of his offense. Having yet to play in the post season, the offensive transformation by Munson definitely contributed to the Yankees future post season appearances, which began the following season. For the season, Munson played in 157 games. He socked 190 hits (career high), 102 RBI’s (2nd best) and batted .318 (career high).
Relating to memorabilia, the Yankee captain’s jersey is quite rare. Currently, MEARS has evaluated 6 deemed to be authentic Mickey Mantle game worn jerseys. All museum pieces. By comparison, this is only the second authentic Thurman Munson evaluated and graded by MEARS, with 3 being labeled as “Unable to Authenticate”.
While conducting the evaluation of the 1975 Thurman Munson Home Wilson New York Yankees jersey, I compiled reference for comparison of manufacturer, size, and total population. A black light was used to inspect internal and external stitching, and a magnified light source was used to inspect numbering, team logo, and neckline stitching. The conclusion:
Stitching Examination: A complete examination and visual tracing of the internal seam stitching was conducted. 1970s Wilson Yankees home jerseys of super star players are notorious for being opened at the neckline. This jersey had no signs of tampering. To conduct the visual examination, the right inner button path seam was inspected. By visually following the manufactures seam up towards the collar, then down to the right left inner button path; one continual stitch pattern is found. There were no breaks in the thread and the sewing was applied in a consistent manner throughout.
Internal stitching of the 1,5, and NY logo was also conducted. Some anchor stitching was broken a various spots of both the 1,5, and would be consistent with game wear.
Manufacture: The jersey was manufactured by Wilson and is consistent with the suppliers found before and after the 1975 season. During my research, this was the first 1975 Yankees home jersey I have found to have entered the hobby. The MEARS complete research library, that contains an overwhelming majority of known jersey that have been auctioned between 1992-2007, could produce no 1975 examples. Nor did the MEARS database of items evaluated by our company conatin a 1975 Yankees home jersey. To conduct trend analysis, we examined Yankees uniforms immediately preceding and following the 1975 season. Our research supported Wilson as a manufacture for the timeframe of 1973-76. Examples found were:
MEARS database 1973 Yankees Home Jersey Wilson Jim Turner
MEARS database 1974 Yankees Home Jersey Wilson Thurman Munson (pants)
MEARS database 1976 Yankees Home Jersey Wilson Yogi Berra
Wilson was also a known supplier of other major league teams in 1975 and support Wilson as a supplier of Yankees jerseys. They were:
1975 Brewers (MEARS database)
1975 Cubs (MEARS database)
1975 Indians (MEARS database)
1975 Orioles (MEARS database)
1975 Reds (MEARS database)
1975 Royals (MEARS database)
1975 Tigers (MEARS database)
1975 White Sox (MEARS database)
Size: Chest measurement 21” across, tagged size 42. Actual size matches tagged size. To establish the correct size of jerseys issued to Thurman Munson, MEARS referenced examples from our database. Examples used for comparison are:
1974 Yankees Wilson Road size 42 RW 11/91
1977 Yankees Wilson Home size 44 Lelands 7/04
1979 Yankees Wilson Home size 44 MEARS #302592
Therefore, the sized 42 jersey is consistent with the trends found of examples of Thurman Munson Yankees jerseys which have entered the hobby.
Black Light: Exposure to a black light revealed the Wilson factory stitching was consistently applied on all of the factory sewn seams. There was no evidence of broken or added threading in the area of the collar/button stitching. The black light revealed the threads were all original with no visible additions. The presence of additional threads may indicate repairs, alterations, or potential fraud; the black light eliminated the possibility of any of the above alterations.
Jersey Trade Index: Upon review, this is only the second authentic Thurman Munson jersey examined by MEARS to date.
Condition: Spotted staining found on the front of the jersey was the cause of the one point deduction. The jersey exhibited heavy overall wear.
In conclusion, New York Yankees HOF jerseys are rare, authentic Thurman Munson shirts are impossible. By examining this jersey, the MEARS process of evaluation, grading, use of a black light and magnified light source, and the application of trend analysis of data contained in the MEARS database allowed us to issue a favorable opinion on this New York rarity.
Troy R. Kinunen
MEARS lead evaluator for this item