My first venture into uniform research and writing involved self-publishing guides on the Cincinnati Reds from the time frame of 1939-1979. I got around to finishing the ones for 1960-1969 and 1970-1979, but left the earlier effort hanging. The reason for that was I had lost interest in the Reds. For roughly the next decade, my focus was on baseball uniforms in general with a concentration of flannels. Since then I have looked at bats of lesser known manufacturers or manufacturers such as Adirondack. I enjoy doing research and writing but enjoy it even more when it involves a team or player of personal interest.

A lot of things became clear to me as I was looking at the 1951 Gil Hodges Wilson home jersey. I heard many things about what I would and would not find. I saw things not noticed or realized before. This trend continued with my look at satin uniforms and finding evidence of more teams wearing them than previously thought or recorded. Then it hit me, why not work on a guide for Brooklyn Dodger’s uniforms…I even have a title in mind… “You Dress Like a Bum: An Unofficial Guide to Brooklyn Dodger Uniforms from 1940-1957.”

I envision this effort taking some time as I would like to find examples of uniforms and for each year address the uniforms in detail. For each year, I would like to identify:

Uniform Design:

Sleeve style

Closure (button and or zipper)

Font style for lettering and numbering

Manufacturer’s for both home and road

Identification of external manufacturers characteristics when possible

Jacket Design:

Sleeve style

Closure (button and or zipper)

Font style for lettering and numbering

Manufacturers for both home and road

Identification of external manufacturer’s characteristics when possible

Special Items:

Satin uniforms

Batting helmets and early head protection

One might ask why would I spend any time at all on this when much of it already known. I could simply go to the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Dressed to the Nines Uniform Data Base and save myself a lot of trouble. The reality is that in looking at something like the Brooklyn Dodger satin uniforms, I have found this information not to be wrong, but incomplete. This is not a dig, but the recognition that I have the selective luxury of looking at something in a much more narrow scope.

If you look at the Brooklyn Dodger uniforms from this period, Dressed to the Nines” shows satin uniforms for the years 1944 and 1948. In examining this in greater detail though both imagery analysis and contemporary newspaper accounts, I think the years and styles within those years should be expanded.

1944: Detailed in Dressed to the Nines and exemplar jerseys in the hobby.

1945: As part of a large collection of books I purchased recently, I obtained a copy of Brooklyn Dodgers Baseball: Them Wonderful Bums 1901-1956” by HBI Books. This is a soft cover volume that features nothing but Brooklyn sports pages focusing obviously on the Dodgers. The Monday June 25th 1945 edition of the Brooklyn Eagle features the Dodger’s pitching staff wearing the home satin uniforms.

1946: From the Amarillo Daily News from June 27th 1946. “You may have trouble believing it, but the Brooklyn Dodgers, idols of the roughest and rowdiest fans in the major leagues, wear home uniforms of resplendent white satin.”

1947: Unknown at this time.

1948: Detailed in Dressed to the Nines and exemplar jerseys in the hobby.

1949: Photographic evidence provided.

1950: Photographic evidence provided.

In addition to adding years, you also have to consider adding styles based on contemporary newspaper accounts. The Hall of Fame Dressed to the Nines Uniform Data Base only shows a road version for 1944. According to an article that appeared in the Ogden City Examiner on February 28th 1944 titled “Dodgers Will Go In For Satin Suits During 1944,” Branch Rickey had members of the scouting staff model the new uniforms. It was noted that the “Flatbushers” would wear uniforms of “shiny white satin trimmed in royal blue” for the 14 home night games.

Now that there appears to be photographic and contemporary evidence of these uniforms having been wore in many more years than first thought, the next question for is me why are there so few surviving examples? One possibility is that since they were worn only a few times a year, they may have just be stored and reissued, thus not really changing the number of available uniforms. The other possibility is the long standing hobby pat answer that jerseys were sent to the minor leagues. But satin uniforms in the minor leagues? Photographic evidence at least suggests this as a possibility. Pictured is a shot from the Dodgers spring training in 1946. At least four players, including a very young Gil Hodges can be found wearing white satin jerseys featuring Royals across the front.

This observation of satin uniforms with a Dodger minor league affiliate creates two possibilities. Either the Royals had their own satin uniforms or they got them from the Dodgers. If they got them from the Dodgers, then Brooklyn would have had to re-order them to be able to field players wearing them again in 1947-1950. This of course brings us back to where we started, what happened to these uniforms?

I have no idea how long this project will take or what I might learn along the way…but then again, that is one of the most rewarding aspects about looking for things on your own. Something I recommend we all do.

As always, collect what you enjoy and enjoy what you collect.


For questions or comments on this article, please feel free to drop me a line at