Click to enlarge
[Editor’s Note: Today we have another guest entry from baseball jersey restorer extraordinaire Bill Henderson and his business, the Dream Shop. Enjoy. — PL]
By Bill Henderson
For many years, my goal as a collector has been to collect one example of every jersey each MLB team wore from 1972 to the present. But as I spent years researching game-worn MLB jerseys from the doubleknit era, I noticed that there were some jerseys that simply didn’t seem to exist in the collector’s market. For example, the 1972-73 Oakland A’s gold jerseys with white/green lettering and the odd Expos-font front numbers were nowhere to be found. Ditto for Cleveland’s jerseys from the 1972-74 period, or most Padres road jerseys of the 1970s. What happened to them all?
As I eventually learned, these missing styles had all been sent to the minor leagues, stripped of their MLB identification, and then usually worn into oblivion and often discarded.
The Padres were a particularly difficult nut to crack. Search as I might, I could not find a single example of their grey road jerseys from 1974 and ’75. I eventually concluded that they simply did not exist any more.
Fast-forward to last summer: A friend contacted me and suggested I take a look at an eBay auction for a 1974 Alexandria Aces road jersey. The Aces were the Padres’ Double-A farm team at the time. “Could this be an elusive Padres 1974 road jersey?” he asked.
What intrigued me was a grainy photo of the tagging. Minor league teams generally did not year tag their jerseys, so this tagging suggested that the jersey had originated with the big league parent club:
I placed a bid and won the auction. When I received the jersey, I could tell that the “12” on the front (which remained in good condition) and the “12” on the back (not so good) were original to the jersey. The “Aces” wordmark had clearly been sewn on after something else had been removed from the front, but it was so worn that I couldn’t make out enough details to confirm its origin.
Once I removed the “Aces” lettering from the front, it immediately became apparent that the words “San Diego” had indeed been on there before! The clearest evidence was the burned in glue imprint of the center letter “D” that had been right on the button placket. As is often the case, this is a spot where the thickness of the cloth and the heat and pressure from the original heat press was the greatest, thus leaving an indelible mark. (If you look closely, you can see the “D” outline on the previous photo as well.)
Luckily, I already had a recreation of the Padres road insignia, scanned from a rare original I had restored and authenticated some months earlier. As I overlayed the lettering template onto the Aces jersey on the light table, I could see several other places where the “San Diego” lettering had been originally stitched, some 46 years ago.
Who originally wore this jersey? Some quick research indicated that No. 12 was issued that year to coach Jim Davenport. A search of other jerseys he wore during his playing career show that they were size 40 — the same as the jersey I was now working on.
As is often the case with minor league jerseys, this one was filthy. It was probably washed 200 times in a commercial machine along with 50 other filthy uniforms, and the dirt compounded into the fabric with each wash. A hand scrub, then a long soak in a bucket of warm, soapy water (Woolite and OxiClean powder is my magic formula) and then a machine wash brightened the garment considerably. It was ready to be relettered.
I cut and stitched a replacement “San Diego” wordmark for the front. The original back numbers were truly awful, so I decided to replace them, along with creating a matching “Davenport” NOB in the Padres distinctive vertically arched style. The long surname and the small jersey size required some careful narrowing and tight spacing to make all the letters fit.
I’m very pleased with the final product. Although I certainly can’t wear it (I last fit into a size 40 in eighth grade), it will display nicely, and it fills what had been a gap in my collection.
Here’s my cutting proof — every order that goes through the shop gets one, even mine:
As a coda to the story, I was contacted by the other person who was bidding against me in the eBay auction. He was a historian for the Alexandria Aces and had wanted the jersey for display in their museum. I promised him I would take the Aces lettering that I’d removed from the jersey and use it to make a reproduction Aces jersey for him.
Paul here. I love these stories so much. Big thanks, as always, to Bill Henderson for sharing his expertise with us. You can see more of Tales From the Dream Shop here.
Bulletin reminder: In case you missed it on Thursday, my latest piece on Bulletin is a worst-to-first ranking of the 10 MLB City Connect uniforms that have been released so far.
My premium subscribers can read the article here. If you haven’t yet subscribed, you can do that here (you’ll need a Facebook account in order to pay). Don’t have or want a Facebook account? Email me for workaround info. Thanks!
Click to enlarge
We don’t see many of these in Brooklyn: A buddy and I spent most of yesterday in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, where we encountered this handsome elk!
We had hoped to spend the entire weekend exploring the park, but they’re expecting some serious snowfall there today, so we high-tailed it back to Denver and I’ll be flying back to NYC this morning.
Uni Watch News Ticker
By Anthony Emerson
Baseball News: While exploring the archives of the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame’s website, Will Scheibler found an undated photograph of a baseball jersey made out of a flour sack as the team was unable to afford the cost of new uniforms. Considering the circumstances, I would guess that the jersey dates to the Depression. … In 1988, the Reds wore a black strip on the sleeve of their unis during their first homestand to honor Ted Kluszewski, who died shortly before the season began. The thread goes on to detail how the Marge Schott-owned Reds did little, however, to honor Hall of Famer Edd Roush, who died a week before Kluszewski (from David Thomas). … The chairs in the dugout box seats at Jacobs Field still have the old Cleveland logo on them (from Ben Teaford). … The Jersey Shore BlueClaws, High-A affiliates of the Phillies, will wear Spider-Man uniforms next Thursday (from John Cerone). … The Cascade Collegiate League have shamelessly stolen the 2021 MLB All-Star Game logo for their 2022 All-Star Game.
Football News: Cartersville High in Georgia is adding QR codes to seniors’ uniforms for today’s scrimmage. When scanned, the QR codes bring you to the player’s recruiting information (from Gerry Dincher).
NBA News: The Warriors have revealed their Western Conference Finals uniform schedule (from Carlos Montalvan).
Soccer News: Manchester City have revealed their new 2022-23 home kit, going with a rare center-oriented club badge and maker’s mark. … Arsenal have launched their 2022-23 home kit (from multiple readers). … If you’ve lost track of the major clubs who’ve revealed their new kits, goal.com has you covered (thanks, Phil). … The Bundesliga has revealed their 2022-23 match ball (from Ed Zelaski).