To help understand the authentication process, this week MEARS is going to share with our members the evaluation of a circa 1929-30 St. Louis Cardinals jersey.
To begin, jerseys are collected for many reasons, favorite teams, players, years, and style, to name a few. Auctions highlight prices realized from the jerseys of mega stars of the game such as Ruth, Gehrig and Mantle, which are collected because of the individual achievements accomplished by these players. I know of collectors trying to collect players from the 1955 Dodgers, 1957 Braves and 1982 Brewers. Fellow MEARS member MEARS Auth, LLC collects flannel jersey styles from each Major League team. One benefit of this hobby is that it allows us to pursue whichever collecting course we choose. This 1929-30 St. Louis Cardinals jersey should be celebrated and collected based on pure design, color scheme, and scarcity of style.
Background history of the 1929 and 1930 St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals played 152 games during the 1929 season and won 78 games, lost 74 games, and finished in fourth position. Notable players on this team included Grover Alexander and additional HOFer’s Jesse Haines, Jim Bottomley, and Frankie Frisch. The Cardinals improved greatly during the 1930 season and the Cardinals found themselves with a record of 92 wins and 62 losses. With this record they finished first in the National League. The World Series found them pitted against the 1929 World Champion Philadelphia A’s. The Cardinals still had their core players in Jesse Haines, Jim Bottomley and Frankie Frisch, however, that year Grover Cleveland was gone and Dizzy Dean was added to the staff. Also, future Hall of Famer and Wisconsin native Burleigh Grimes made his debut with the Cardinals.
The World Champions proved too strong and Jimmy Foxx and the A’s won the World Series in 6 games. Sy Johnson appeared in two games and compiled a 7.20 ERA.
Although the jersey can be pinpointed to have been issued during 1929-30 due to its unique style, there is no team applied player identifier present to attribute the jersey to a specific player. Included is a pair of pants marked “Sy Johnson.” Sy played for the Cardinals from 1926-33; therefore he would have worn this style of jersey during the 1929-30 time frame. Again, since there is no identifier on the jersey, one would have to assume Sy wore the jersey based on the accompanying marked pants.
Written inside the jersey is the name “Halick.” A search of the www.baseballalmanac.com and www.baseballlibrary.com reference web sites could not find a player by the name of Halick listed as playing for the St. Louis Cardinals. It was common practice for teams to issue jerseys to other players that appeared in spring training or non-roster players. With the Cardinals changing the jersey style in 1931, it is plausible that a player named “Halick” was issued the jersey for a try out with the team. Therefore with “Halick” hand written inside the jersey, it must be assumed it was issued to be worn by a player with that name.
To begin the evaluation, we compiled our data using our “Jersey Grading and Authenticating Official Worksheet.” This serves as our guide that ensures that we examine each jersey using the same methods and steps in a consistent manner. The worksheet is broken down in main evaluation headings, which include:
Jersey Physical Description
Team Lettering & Numbering
Physical Description & Manufacturer Data of Jersey Style
The examined jersey was issued as a home ½ length button down style. Manufactured from heavy gray flannel wool blend, this jersey was issued with 4 pearl buttons. All of the buttons are original. This style was designed to be worn by the Cardinals for the years 1929-30. The previous year’s style was the single bird found in conjunction with home pinstripes. In 1931 the home jersey was similar in style but the sleeve patch was not issued. This can be verified via the Baseball Hall of Fames jersey style reference titled “Dressed to the Nines” uniform database.
This is the first circa 1929-30 St. Louis Cardinals with Sainz manufactures tag found in the MEARS database.
Other archived period St. Louis Cardinals jersey’s found in the database include:
1926 St. Louis Cardinals Road Grover Cleveland Alexander (Rawlings/Leacock)
1930 St. Louis Cardinals Home Smith (Spalding)
1931 St. Louis Cardinals Home Flowers (Rawlings)
1931 St. Louis Cardinals Home Mize (Rawlings)
The jersey is similar in consistency of materials to other examples of Major League jerseys we have examined.
By studying the range of manufactures of jerseys issued by the Cardinals from 1926-1931, trend analysis shows 4 different manufactures who supplied the team jerseys during that time frame, Rawlings/Leacock, Spalding, Rawlings, and Sainz.
Team Lettering, Numbering, and Sleeve Patch
The most visually appealing aspect of this Cardinals jersey is the large colorful embroidered double ‘birds on bat’ chest logo with wrap around “Cardinals” C. With the bright red coloring and large and prominent placement, this jersey ranks in my opinion as one of the most visually appealing jerseys made.
To further accentuate the embroidery and style, the jersey is trimmed with Cardinals red front, sleeve and neck piping. All of the piping is 100% original and complete.
No player’s uniform number is found on this jersey nor should there be, as the Cardinals did not begin adding them until the 1932 season. (baseball-reference.com)
A hand cut “St. L” felt patch was sewn on the left sleeve. The patch appeared to be all original with signs of slight fading.
The manufacturers tag was found in the collar and factory applied with a straight stitch. This was the first example of this tag we have examined. The details of the tag read, “J.M. Sainz & Co., St. Louis, MO, SAINZ, Sunshine Line, Athletic Goods of Quality.” The tag is all original and unaltered.
The jersey exhibits light to moderate wear and is consistent with issue to a pitcher having limited game action to be worn for at least one or two Major League seasons. There is no fading present. The wear is consistent with player and position. No excessive or negative wear traits are present. There are also what appear to be small blood spot stains on the front of the jersey, which does not affect the overall beauty or appearance.
With possible issue for the 1930 World Series, this beautiful two-year style St. Louis Cardinals jersey should appeal to collectors of Cardinals memorabilia, and jersey collectors that appreciate the vibrant multi color embroidery of the ‘2 birds on bat’ front design with ‘St. L’ shoulder patch. All original examples of flannel jerseys from this period are always exciting discoveries and the staff of MEARS always looks forward to updating our database, which we were able to do with the addition of the SAINZ tag to our archives.