MEARS Auction #123, Ends Saturday, February 2nd, 2019, 10:00 PM CST W/30-Minute Rule In Effect
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 2/3/2019

In an article published by Dave Grob, he provides some well researched facts about the introduction of the Satin shirt in Major League Baseball and provides a well reached dissertation regarding the authenticaton of this shirt. His work titled, “Fabric of the Game”, notes the 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. Rickey went on to say that these new uniforms featured material similar to the silk worn by “riders at the track”, a reference to jockeys of the day.

On March 9th, 1944 an article by Glen Perkins appeared in the Valley Morning Star in which Brooklyn fan were asked their early thoughts of this change in dress. The initial reaction was none to favorable with one fan vowing that he would not attend a single night game. A female fan was on record as saying “better they should wear wool suits.” The article goes on to mention that in addition the home white uniforms, there will also be one in “a light shade of blue with white piping for the road.”I found one other article discussing these uniforms in the February 26th 1944 edition of the Oelwein Daily Register. This article contained no new or additional information about the Dodger’s satin uniforms. Just when I thought I had found that these uniforms came in both a home and road version, I hit upon this line… “ A few seasons ago, the Chicago Cubs attempted some grotesque zoot suits made of jersey rayon.”

Sure enough, The Madison Capital Times featured an article on July 29th 1941 discussing these uniforms. Specifically, “The Cubs road uniforms came in for considerable discussion. We gathered that the players are not sold on the “unies,” but they can’t do much about the matter. The other clubs in the National League have ridden the Cubs unmercifully regarding the robin egg blue. Made from a combination of wool and rayon, the uniforms are anything but cool.” I found a great picture on Donald Honig’s “The Chicago Cubs: An Illustrated History” that seems to confirm this. Notice how much the Cubs players are sweating as compared to the Giants catcher dressed in tradition wool flannel. I knew that the Reds had made this fabric switch as well in 1956. The style, fabric and manufacturer is mentioned in the 1956 Cincinnati Reds year book.

O.K., in an attempt to get back on track, I started looking for information on satin uniforms worn in the 1948 season. The Boston Braves wore these then and a number of examples have survived. I was honestly looking for feedback from Boston Braves players or fans when I cam across an article in the May 4th 1948 edition of Coshocton, Ohio Tribune. While I did not find anything about the Braves or the Dodgers, The Tribune covered the National League rival Cincinnati Reds. In detailing the events of the recent Giants-Reds game, it was reported almost in passing that “The Reds were decked out in new satin uniforms but the Giants weren’t impressed as they pounded three Cincinnati hurlers for 13 hits.” This was the first time I had found a reference to the Cincinnati Reds wearing satin uniforms. I had seen other things over the years in looking at the Reds such as ventilated/elastic material in the underarms and crotch area, but never a mention of satin uniforms beyond the Palm Beach style from the 1937 season.

I mention this material in the crotch and underarm area as many collectors thought the “cool base fabric” introduced this year was really something new. The fact of the matter is that varying fabrics under the arms and in the crotch can be found in Spalding and Wilson products throughout the late 1930s, the 1940s, and into the 1950s. Side panels containing this same fabric were also part of the Reds uniforms from the late 1950s through 1960. The Cleveland Indians continued this with their vests well into the late 1960s.

What started out a look at stain uniforms for the Dodgers and Braves turned out to be much more. We now have contemporary accounts for both home and road satin uniforms for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1944. We also have insight into the fabric of the 1941-1942 Chicago Cubs road uniforms. We can also now add the Cincinnati Reds to the list of teams in the 1940s wearing satin uniforms. For the younger collector finding the “cool base” fabric concept as something new, realize that the fabric of the game and its history are much like the fabric of the garments…always interesting and always a great story if you look deep enough.

Dating the Jersey: The jersey is without any sort of supplemental tagging to denote year. This is not atypical as the only year you find this in are those home satin uniforms ordered for the 1948 season. Even without year specific tagging, I believe it is possible to date this jersey to 1946. This dating is based on a combination of style (manner of closure/zipper vs button), roster #’s, and time that particular players whose satin jerseys have survived actually played with the Brooklyn Dodgers. This work is also supported by imagery analysis of contemporary/dated photographs.

Brooklyn Dodger’s Road Satin Jerseys

-1944 Leo Durocher (light blue)
-1944 Chuck Dressen (light blue)
-1944 Augie Galan (light blue)
-1944 Tom Sunkel (light blue; 1944 only year with Brooklyn)
-1945 Leo Durocher (dark blue)
-1945 Mickey Owen (dark blue; only #10 through 1945)
-1945 Art Herring (dark blue; only wore #16 in 1945)
(All are button down)

Brooklyn Dodgers Home Satin Jerseys

-1944/45 Leo Durocher (button down)
-1944/45 Ray Haworth (button down; only with Brooklyn in 1944-1945; #32 worn both years)
-1946 Don Padgett (zipper closure; only with Brooklyn in 1946)
-*1946 Carl Furillo (zipper closure)
-1946 Rex Barney photograph (zipper closure)
-1946 Ferrell Anderson photograph (20 April 1946, zipper closure, only year with Brooklyn)
-1947 Stan Rojek (button down; only with the Dodgers for 1942 and 1946-1947. Satin jerseys not worn until 1944 so the Rojek is not from 1942)
-1948 Joe Hatten (zipper closure; not with Brooklyn in 1944-1945; supplemental box tag for “48”. Swatch tagging consistent with Wilson products of the 1948 Red Sox and Indians)

*The Carl Furillo jersey features the name “Furillo” written in vintage laundry pen and the jersey is missing the name swatch below the Wilson tag. Mark Stangs’ reference Baseball by The Numbers indicates #6 was assigned to both Dixie Howell and Frank Laga, but neither of those men appeared in any games for Brooklyn that year. This same reference shows that in 1946, Furillo was assigned 29, 5, and 6. Stangs’ source data included various rosters and scorecards from this period, but this information is offered without context.

Dixie Howell: Spent the 1946 season with AAA Montreal Royals (84 games). Cleared waivers for this assignment on 26 April 1946.

Frank Laga: Spent 1946 with the Mobile Bears and the Montreal Royals. Started 1946 in AAA Montreal, sent to Mobile. Recalled by the Royals on 18 September 1946. Not on the 1946 Brooklyn Dodgers major league roster during the regular season.

Consider this scorecard (image included) from the 28 April 1946 game at the Polo Grounds between the Dodgers and the Giants. Howell listed as #6, Furillo as #29, and Frank Laga as # 39. Both Howell and Laga are listed, but at this time, both players were in AAA Montreal.

In addition, #5 was the assigned number of Cookie Lavagetto. Lavagetto wore this number in Brooklyn prior to going into the service (1942-1945) and when he returned in 1946. Because of an elbow injury, Lavagetto did not appear in a game for the Dodgers until 8 May 1946. By this time, Furillo would no longer have been wearing #5.

The jersey is a zipper closure so it is not from 1944 or 1945. There were no other players who wore #6 for Brooklyn in 1947-1957 so there would have been no need to annotate his name (Furillo) in the jersey post 1946 as it would have been identified and placed to him by number alone. The Rojek jersey as a button down garment suggests the Furillo jersey is also not from 1947. The absence of the year tag or signs that one was ever present eliminates 1948 as a possibility as well. (NOTE: Other 1948 Wilson products supplied to the Indians, Cubs, and Red Sox also feature a box tag denoting “48” as the year of issuance as well).

As such, the jersey is dated to 1946 as the original year of issuance. In addition, this data in its totality suggests that Carl Furlillo was the only player to have actually worn #6 for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1946.

Size: The garment is tagged as size 42 garment and this is the true size. This was ascertained by both physical measurements as well as comparing it to period Wilson uniforms in my exemplar library. Those examples included Wilson major league jerseys in sizes 40, 42, 44, and 46. The size 40 offering was a 1945 Brooklyn Dodgers road satin jersey. Period sizing data (1947 Brooklyn Dodgers Pre-Season Roster) lists Furillo at 6”, 176 lbs. This is in contrast to static references such as Baseball which lists Furillo at 6”, 190 lbs. For Furillo’s final year in Brooklyn, the 1957 Dodgers team yearbook lists him at 5’, 11”; 198 lbs. As such, I would offer that this is an appropriate sized garment for Carl Furillo at this point in his career (1946).

Construction/Style: The body of the garment is constructed of a blend fabric known as “jockey satin”. This fabric and style were first introduced by Wilson at the major league level in 1944. Manner of closure is zipper (Talon, brass, narrow tong). Shoulder area/arms, and sleeve ends are trimmed in a wide royal blue soutache. Sleeve cut in Raglan. Lettering and numbering is done in royal blue. All of this is consistent with period images.

Use/Wear: The jersey shows signs of heavy use and wear. While the body of garment is structurally sound, it is also uniformly stained in what appears to be an almost caramelized color. There are darker spot stains in various places. However, even with this staining, the garment retains much of its traditional sheen. Since these uniforms were worn sparingly during the regular season, its current condition and physical state is attributed what is likely a combination of extended organizational use and less than optimal cleaning and or storage conditions.

Non-Condition Related Commentary: These satin uniforms were worn by the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1944 through at least 1950. Period images confirm they were worn by Brooklyn Dodger Coaches well into the 1950s, just prior to the team’s relocation to Los Angeles. Yet, according to my records and data base, this jersey is the only known surviving example from a prominent everyday Brooklyn Dodger player. During the period of 1947-1957, Furillo was the only Brooklyn Dodger that appeared in over 1,500 games and had over 400 plate appearances in each of those 11 seasons.

Opinion: Based on my physical examination of this jersey and supporting data, it is my opinion that this jersey possess all of the characteristics you would expect to find in a 1946 Brooklyn Dodgers home satin jersey manufactured by Wilson and issued to and worn by Carl Furillo during his rookie season. The jersey is completely original (with the exception of the aforementioned missing swatch for player’s name). I believe the missing player’s swatch once probably contained the name “Howell” as period Dodger yearbooks list Dixie Howell at 6”, 180 lbs which is consistent with period sizing date for Furillo at 6”, 176lbs.

Final Grade (MEARS A7) as reviewed by Troy R. Kinunen, MEARS: A total of three points are deducted cumulatively for the staining to the jersey & the fraying in the collar. (23Y0057)

LOA Troy Kinunen / MEARS
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $500
Final prices include buyers premium.: $6,072
Number Bids: 16
Auction closed on Sunday, February 3, 2019.
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