Whether you are new to the hobby or a decades old veteran, everyone can use a common set of terms and definitions when looking to collect and describe game used baseball uniforms and their parts, pieces and features. If you are new to the hobby, this list can also serve as a basis for things to ask about when considering adding a uniform to your collection.
All Original: Claim made stating the uniform is in the same condition as when last worn by the player.
Alternation: A change from the original. Most often used to describe team modifications to accommodate a player preference.
Chain Stitched: Phrase used to describe the style of sewing used to make annotations on flannel era jerseys for player’s names, years, size, and or numbers. This is much different than today’s modern machine embroidery.
Cotton Twill: Cotton based fabric used for lettering and numbering. This fabric has an almost canvas feel and quality to it.
Customization: An aspect of the jersey that is desired by a particular player. These most frequently involve aspects relating to comfort and fit such as sleeve or tail length or even collar or sleeve construction. In many cases, especially with contemporary uniforms, this customization will be annotated with supplemental tagging.
Double Knit: Common name used to describe jerseys that replaced flannels. The first team to don these jerseys was the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1970. The Baltimore Orioles followed suit in 1971 and they became a mainstay for MLB uniforms manufactured after 1972.
Flannel: Common term used to describe pre knit jerseys (circa 1971). It is important to understand that this generic term for a fabric, does not reflect the fact that the materials used in “flannels” have changed over the years from a predominately wool based, to those including cotton and or synthetic (nylon or rayon) fabrics as well.
Flag Tag: Small tag used to denote year and or set. These seem to begin to appear around 1948 with some manufacturers.
Gathering: Term used to describe the crumpled look of lettering, numbers, and patches that comes with repeated laundering.
Gusset: Vented hole for ventilation, often found in the form of holes in the under arm or crouch area of flannel uniforms. In some 1930s and 1940s era uniforms, this feature and function was accomplished with a cotton elastic fabric sewn into the underarms or crotch area.
Laundry Instructions: Information provided by the manufacturer relating to the care of the garment. Begins to appear in the form of supplemental tagging with Rawlings and Spalding in the mid to late 1940s. These change over time as well as can help to date an item.
Raglan Sleeve: Sleeve on a baseball uniform that runs from the cuff all the way up to the neckline.
Repair: Different from an alteration in that nothing has been changed, only fixed. This includes sewing of holes or tears, re-sewing lettering or numbering that have come loose, and replacing buttons or zippers. If repairs have be made, an attempt should be made to discern if they are vintage to the period of original wear.
Restoration: Term used to describe efforts to return a jersey to what would appear to be its original condition. This most often involves restoring numbers, player names, team crests or patches. You will want to know if the restorations have been made with vintage materials such as patches or crests.
Salesman’s Sample: A jersey that has been produced by a manufacturer to showcase their product line. These are most often than not sewn to reflect the more popular players of a given team.
Set-In Sleeve: Sleeve that is joined at the shoulder area and is a separate section of material.
Straight Stitch: A stitch that follows the contour of the outline of the fabric pattern.
Square Tail: Describes the non-tapered appearance of the early double knit uniforms, which was very common in Rawlings jerseys from 1970- circa 1974.
Team Blank: Term used to describe a uniform that has been ordered by a team for the purpose of being used as a replacement or capable of being sewn for a player added to the roster at a later date. Also referred to as an extra. For older flannels, it is common to see these with an “X” for “extra” chain stitched into the jersey.
Name on Back Removed (NOBR): Common abbreviation used to indicate that a name has been removed.
Name in Collar (NIC): Term used to describe the location of a player name stitched in collar. May have been done in chain stitch over felt.
Name In Tail (NIT): Term used to describe the location of a player name stitched in the tail of the jersey. May have been done in chain stitch directly into the jersey.
Plate (or name plate): Term used to describe affixing a player name to the back of a jersey with the letters sewn to separate piece of material. They can be arched or straight depending on team style for a given year or period.
Restoration: Returning a jersey to as close to its original condition. Reapplying a number, name or patch are common forms of restoration. This is considered different than alterations and repairs since restoration changes are not vintage to the period. In the case of patches or crests, an attempt should be made to discern if they are vintage to the period of original wear.
Tackle Twill: Nylon based fabric used for lettering and numbering.
Team Name/Number Change: Phrase used to describe an alteration made by the team to make the jersey available for another player or season.